Providing relief for pets

By Jeana Durst, content director

How to help pets (and their humans) during these difficult times — join with these community groups to make sure no dog or cat ever has to go hungry.

“Because life happens to us all.” That’s the sign you’ll see at the Pelham Pet Pantry, opened by Sheila Montgomery, a Pelham resident and mother to four dogs and two cats. This family-run organization is helping people who are in need feed their dogs and cats by providing free pet food with no questions asked. In fact, in a 60-day period, the pantry distributed 701 pounds of dry food and 74 cans of wet food. Recently, Montgomery took over the Hueytown Community Pet Pantry as well.

The donation bin at Starbucks in Pelham is seen overflowing after donations from community members.

With the onset of Coronavirus and the resulting economic strain, the need is greater than ever. During the third week in March, Montgomery gave away 200 cans of food—in only 24 hours. “It has become very, very serious; they just keep coming and coming,” Montgomery says. With many shelters no longer accepting animals, food insecurity for animals is on the rise. A third pet pantry, not affiliated with Montgomery, is also open in Alabaster to fill needs in that community.

This spring we’ve gained a new perspective on how important it is to reach out in solidarity and lift up our neighbors. No one wants to find themselves unable to care for a pet. With so many people out of work, it is a harsh reality that animals are some of the most vulnerable ones during these challenging times. These pet pantries want to help people keep their pets at home. “It’s so humbling to see a grown man cry over a four-pound bag of dog food,” Montgomery says.

Open since December 26, 2019, The Pelham Pet Pantry began long before the Coronavirus hit our area. The idea came when Montgomery was cleaning out her garage and was musing over an empty shelf with a friend. A simple question—I wonder what people do when they can’t feed their pets?— kicked off the mission. Within a few days, the pet pantry was up and running. Now, the donations take up two shelves and most of her garage floor. Anyone can message Montgomery to coordinate pick up for food, and she is in the process of setting up a drive-through pick up service in Hueytown to meet an ever-growing need in Jefferson County. Their mantra sums it up: “If you have it, give it; if you need it, take it.”

With the heavy pressure on pantries, let’s pull together! Donations of unopened cat and dog food are accepted at the following locations:

  • Pelham Pet Pantry Donation Drop Off – Starbucks, 240 Cahaba Valley Rd, Pelham, AL 35124 (map)
  • Hueytown Pet Pantry Donation Drop Off – Piggly Wiggly, 1040 River Square Plaza, Hueytown, AL 35023 (map)
  • Alabaster Pet Pantry Donation Drop Off – Starbucks at Alabaster Promenade 345 S. Colonial Drive, Alabaster, AL 35007 (map)

For more information about accessing pet food:

Contact The Pelham Pet Pantry (open to all Shelby County residents) or The Hueytown Community Pet Pantry (open to all Jefferson County residents) by visiting Facebook, or connect with Sheila Montgomery directly at or (205) 965-3883.

For the Alabaster Community Pet Pantry, visit Facebook or call (205) 568-7957.


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