EDGEWATER — Care for Real, a 43-year-old food pantry on Sheridan Road, received a little help this week to not only feed humans, but the neighborhood's furry friends, too.
To help buy pet food, the pantry was awarded a $5,000 grant from Banfield Charitable Trust.
Nearly two years ago, the pantry started offering pet food monthly to people who were "going hungry" after putting the nourishment of their pets before themselves, Care for Real director Lyle Allen said.
"That pet is everything in their life; it’s their best friend, it’s their family," Allen said. "It provides a reason for them to get out of the house and take care of that animal."
On the first Thursday of every month, human food is cleared out of the small space at 5339 N. Sheridan Road and the pet food is brought in, he said.
Last year 3,000 pets — mostly cats and dogs, but also lizards, guinea pigs and rabbits — had been fed with food from the pantry.
When news of the $5,000 award came in, Care for Real had still been celebrating another big grant award totaling $52,000 from the MacArthur Foundation and Joshua J. and Eunice Stone Foundation.
Allen said the pantry was using the money to install a 22-foot walk-in cooler and freezer, which would expand how much fresh food served there.
Before, he said, the pantry was using a "hodgepodge" assortment of smaller refrigerators and freezers to do the job.
"Things are going pretty great over here these days," Allen said. "The support that’s coming our way is pretty astounding."