CHICAGO — How many pets does 2.5 tons of food feed?
That's what Friendship Pet Food Pantry will be able to find out after receiving more than 5,000 pounds of food from Chicago businesses in a recent competition.
The Pantry at 2733 W. Lawrence Ave. in Lincoln Square helps pet owners struggling to make ends meet feed their four-legged family members.
Mary Wulffen, a volunteer for the pantry, estimated the haul could feed as many as 400 pets over the next several months, as food is distributed the third Friday of each month.
"We couldn't believe our good fortune today when the moving truck pulled up to the Friendship Center," said Christine Cupaiuolo, a Friendship Pet Food Pantry volunteer, in an email.
Integrative Pet Care, a rehab facility at 2250 W. Armitage Ave., brought in 2,593 pounds of food in the competition, just 36 more pounds than did Animal Medical Center, at 1618 W. Diversey Pkwy.
(Friendship Pet Food Pantry/Christine Cupaiuolo)
"Both Animal Medical Center of Chicago and Integrative Pet Care did an amazing job — especially considering how busy both clinics were these past two weeks due to the canine influenza breakout. We are very much indebted to them," Cupaiuolo said.
The two-week-long competition ended with the pantry receiving the donations April 2.
Participants and Friendship Pantry volunteers added up the pet food with labeled weights, then measured the rest piecemeal on large dog scales, said Nick Anderson, hospital administrator at Animal Medical Center of Chicago.
Anderson said he was surprised the two competing organizations' donations only differed by 36 pounds.
"We didn’t keep track during the two weeks," he said. "To be that close was really amazing."
One thing he wasn't surprised by, though, was the support from clients at Animal Medical Center.
"We have very generous clients," he said. "We've had a really good turnout."
Other organizations donated food as well, such as Parker's: A Natural Dog & Cat Market, Sam & Willy's, Pet Supplies Plus, See Spot Run, Dogs Deserve It, Premier Veterinary Group of Chicago, Alive Rescue, Six Legs Foundation, Chicago School of Canine Massage and Doggy Style Pet Shop.
"I can't believe how many people donated, and to come out with that much food is awesome. It's going to keep pets and their families together," Anderson said.
Friendship Pantry volunteer Lori Barsztaitis. (Friendship Pet Food Pantry/Christine Cupaiuolo)