Food bank helps people feed their pets

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Carol Sorgen
Lynn Molnar recently founded Thankful Paws, a nonprofit that provides pet food and supplies for those who are unable to afford them for their cats and dogs.
Photo courtesy of Thankful Paws

Lynn Molnar knows all too well how an unexpected financial crisis can affect an entire family — including its four-legged members.

Several years ago, Molnar was faced with several large medical and tuition bills, and even though she had a job, money was tight. She had enough money to buy food for either herself or her four pets.

In Molnar’s case, her pets came first. She resorted to getting food for herself through food banks. And though times are better now, that experience gave birth to the new food bank for pets called Thankful Paws.

Founded just three months ago, Thankful Paws is dedicated to helping people keep their pets, said Molnar, who lives in White Marsh. The nonprofit organization provides dog and cat food and other supplies to pet owners going through a rough patch financially, with a focus on seniors, veterans, the homeless and those with disabilities .

“Sometimes life can present all of us an unexpected problem,” said Molnar. “In times of crisis, the last thing we want to worry about is giving up the part of our lives that brings us joy and unconditional love…our pets.”

Inspired from childhood

Her grandmother inspired her to find ways to help others. When Molnar was a little girl, her grandmother gave her a birthday card with a poem written by Helen Steiner Rice called “Brighten the Corner Where You Are.”

Molnar said has never forgotten such lines as, “So do not sit and idly wish for wider, new dimensions, Where you can put in practice your many good intentions…”, as well as her grandmother’s compassion for people and the life lessons she taught.

Thankful Paws has already helped feed the pets of about 150 families throughout Harford and Baltimore counties and Baltimore City. Since Thankful Paws opened its doors, it has purchased more than $700 worth of dog and cat food, and has also redistributed over 50 bags of new and unopened pet food donated to the organization.

“Thankful Paws helps to take the financial burden off of the minds of pet owners in need by providing food and supplies to their loyal, faithful and loving pets,” said Molnar. “It is our honor to help America’s veterans, especially those with service dogs. We thank you for your service. Please let us help you keep your best friend.”

Molnar is also reaching out to the homeless, providing not only pet food, but leashes, blankets, bowls and flea medicines.

How others can help

So far, Thankful Paws has received donations from the Maryland Food Bank and PetValu, as well as individual donations of cash and pet food, kitty litter and other supplies.

The organization is currently looking for donated space in which to store the supplies, as well as a van with which to make deliveries.

Molnar says that she also welcomes volunteers of any age with a range of skills. Opportunities range from picking up supplies and making deliveries, to writing business plans, fundraising and more.

“There is no need to abandon a pet — or find a new home for your faithful companion just because of money,” she said.

To receive help, or to volunteer, contact Molnar at (443) 528-3637 or email lynn@thankfulpaws.org. An online form to request assistance from Thankful Paws, as well as opportunities to send donations electronically through PayPal, are available at www.thankfulpaws.org.