Pet supply

East Waldoboro pet food pantry helps Mainers cope with rising costs

Nadine Molloy runs the No Bowl Empty 2 Pet Food Pantry from her garage in East Waterboro. It has been doing so for seven years, despite supply difficulties in 2022.

WATERBORO, Maine — For seven years, Nadine Molloy has led the No Bowl Empty 2 pet pantry from his garage in East Waterboro. It’s a mission she’s been passionate about ever since she closed her animal shelter to do it.

“I call myself the kibble queen,” Molloy said with a laugh.

Molloy now said she serves 1,352 pets a month. Most of them are cats and dogs, although some are smaller animals, such as gerbils and hamsters. Molloy said that was almost double the roughly 700 pets she served at the same time last year.

She said most of her clients are either seniors living on fixed incomes, homeless people, or just community members trying to make do with what they have.

“We are non-judgmental,” Molloy said. “I don’t require you to prove income or need.”

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Molloy said the main drivers of need have been the loss of jobs during the pandemic and the current state of the economy.

The 501c3 pantry has also not been immune to the effect of inflation. Last week, Molloy sent a plea for help on Facebook, saying she had to cancel the two-day distributions in June. This message caught people’s attention.

“We started getting immediate shipments of food and junk — canned food, dry food, toys,” Molloy said.

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For Mainers like Steep Falls’ Jean Smith, that call to action was crucial. She was at the pantry on Tuesday collecting food and toys for her elderly cat and two dogs.

“I would feed my pets before I would feed myself,” Smith said. She lives on a fixed income as an elderly woman and said it was difficult to adapt to soaring prices all over the world.

“It’s been quite a fight,” Smith said.

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Michelle Cobbett of Standish is a friend and occasional client of Molloy. She also volunteers to help give back to the pantry, which has helped her feed her rabbit, cat, four dogs, fish, frog and three lizards as a single mother.

“I probably spend about $300 a month between bedding, food — everything,” Cobbett said.

She said she’s also noticed the prices going up lately, even at the pet store.

“[It] it was maybe $1.58 for a can before, and now it’s $1.78,” Cobbett said.

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Molloy said the recent donations of cash and supplies she received will last about a month. If you want to help the cause – or if you need help yourself – you can visit the pantry Facebook page. Molloy said she serves people from Androscoggin and Oxford counties.

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