About PAWSitive Pantry

Who Are We?

PAWSitive Pantry, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that was founded in 2009 to provide a safety net to help pets whose families have fallen on hard times. Through a liaison with the Vermont Foodbank, we deliver dog and cat food to food shelves throughout the state of Vermont. To date, we have delivered over 450,000 lbs of food. At present, we provide approximately 4,500 dog and 8,100 cat meals per month to families in Vermont.

In 2021, PAWSitive Pantry merged with the Pet Food Task Force in Massachusetts to provide another safety net program in that state. As of 2021, both groups are now known as PAWSitive Pantry. PAWSitive Pantry Massachusetts has a volunteer group of about 50 volunteers who create partnerships with local food pantries and retailers to be able to ensure that no pet goes hungry. In Massachusetts there are over 100 retailers and partnerships. The Pet Food Task Force started out in March 2020 as an emergency response to Covid in Chelsea, MA and then expanded from there.  

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“I have been an individual recipient of PAWSitive Pantry’s beneficence for about four or five years now, and cannot say enough about this group’s work. If I could give them 10 stars, I would. Stacy’s generosity and kindness are unmatched. If your group has a need for animal food funding here in New England, you will find your best partner in PAWSitive Pantry, I guarantee it.”

-Name withheld

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In 2020 we partnered with The Pet Food Task Force, based in MA to expand our reach.

The Pet Food Task Force (PFTF) launched in March 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, when economic hardship created unprecedented demand for food assistance. At the same time, several animal welfare organizations in the Greater Boston area discovered a shared problem: their pet food pantries and services were underutilized. Some communities didn’t know that the pet food pantry existed, or the shelter was too inconveniently located for patrons to make regular trips. In response to this problem, the organizations formed relationships with local human food pantries and started to provide them with pet food.

The effects were instantaneous. Community members, grateful to find that their local pantry carried supplies for their pets, seized on the opportunity to feed their hungry pets. This simple change capitalized on a well-known, centrally-located resource — the human food pantry — to address the needs of two overlapping populations: food-insecure families and families with hungry pets.

In response to this success, these animal welfare organizations formed a collaborative network to better coordinate with food pantries and retailers statewide. Our objective is to ensure that pet food is available in all corners of Massachusetts. Shelters and rescues provide pet food and litter, volunteers work with retailers to identify overstock resources of food, and shelter staff and volunteers transport the food and supplies to local food pantries for community distribution. 

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Pallets of dog food

Meet the Team

Stacy LeBaron, President

Stacy has been involved in animal welfare for over 20 years. She currently hosts a podcast called the Community Cats Podcast where she interviews renowned experts helping with the problem of cat over population and  welfare. Previously, she was the President of the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society for 16 years. The MRFRS has assisted over 105,000 cats and kittens through a variety of innovative programs. 

She currently lives in Vermont with her husband, son and daughter and two cats, Hooch and Misha.

Jen Bennett, Vice President

Jen spent her childhood sleeping on a bed full of stuffed animals. Her first live four footed friend, Rocko, came into her life while living in Boston. There they wandered the halls of both Mass General and Children’s Hospital working in their pet therapy programs. Soon after moving to Vermont she read about a pet food assistance program in Washington state and was inspired to get a similar resource off the ground in the Green Mountains. Jen and her current sidekick Rumble live in the Mad River Valley and both jump on any opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.

Barbara Mitchell

Barbara moved to the Mad River Valley to teach skiing at Sugarbush in 2000. Up until rooting herself in Vermont, she was the owner of Common Ground, an organic garden design & maintenance company in Connecticut. Currently, she is an agent working with Sugarbush Real Estate

Barb can’t recall a time when there was not at least one furry friend in her house. She cherishes the memories that all of her animals have given her (dogs, cats, birds, guinea pigs, ponies, rabbits and several fish) and is currently blessed with Willy, the brown dog, an angel in canine clothing. 

Deborah Kuklis, Treasurer

Debbie is a native Vermonter, she moved back to Vermont in 2005 after spending many years living in big cities (D.C., Chicago, and NYC).  She is a Director at the cloud software company, Salesforce.com, which is based in San Francisco.  She has four dogs and two cats and enjoys the love that they bring to her life.

Anne Greshin, Secretary

Anne hails from Vermont and returned here from the Boston area in 2002 with her husband and their three children. She volunteers in the community, primarily with youth soccer, Project Graduation, and PAWSitive Pantry. Anne enjoys skiing, walks in the woods and mountains with friends, family, and their dog Brady.