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“We desperately need donations." Local nonprofit struggling to keep up with increased demand for services

Posted at 5:04 AM, Jul 11, 2024
  • Video shows Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry President Robin Ackling describing how the nonprofit is in a constant cycle: one week they're low on food, and the next, low on funds.
  • The Pet Food Pantry is a nonprofit dedicated to helping pet owners. Twice a month, they have free distribution days to provide emergency pet food to families. Ultimately, they say they hope to support pet owners so they can continue to care for their animals.
  • Each distribution day, they say they have nearly 200 people stop by, and they give away thousands of pounds of food. They say they need food and monetary donations to ensure they can keep providing help to pet owners.
  • The next distribution day is coming up on Saturday, July 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the pantry. They are located at 4500 Shepard Street, Suite B-1 in Bakersfield.


As our summer months continue to heat up, a local nonprofit focused on supporting pet owners and their animals is calling out to the Bakersfield community for support. The Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry is in need of some help as the demand for its services continues to increase.

“In the last few months, it’s gone up, up, up," Robin Ackling said. "With inflation, we get more and more people that say they’ve lost their job or they just can’t afford their pet anymore.”

Robin Ackling, President of the Bakersfield Pet Food Pantrynonprofit, tells me to help keep pets in their homes, the Bakersfield Pet Food Pantry opens its doors twice a month to families in need.

“Several thousand pounds of food go out the door whenever we’re open for distribution,” Ackling said.

The nonprofit says they’re dedicated to helping pet owners in need, but they are feeling the impact of inflation, too.

“And it fluctuates between, ‘Do we have enough money to stay open? Do we have to close?’ Or, ‘Do we have enough food to stay open?’” said Ackling. “Right now, today, we have plenty of food. But, that food will be gone on Saturday. It all goes out the door.”

As a nonprofit, Ackling says they rely on donations, both food and monetary, to continue to offer their services. She says their current lease is up in January, but she’s concerned they may not make it.

“Just focus on keeping the lights on…”

Between rent, energy costs and insurance, Ackling says it’s around two-thousand dollars a month to stay in their current location, a place with an already discounted rent.

I asked if the pantry would consider moving to a new location, but Ackling says they couldn’t find anything in their budget with enough space to store donations.

“We looked at options, and there weren’t really–there was nothing else less expensive," said Ackling. "They already give us a discount here.”

Another option they considered was having the distribution days be pop-up events rather than a consistent location.

“But it just wasn’t feasible as far as physically being able to do all of that with no place to store the food," said Ackling. "So, we’re here to stay as long as we stay open.”

Between the biweekly distribution days, Ackling says even the smallest donations can add up to help them support pets in the community.

The next community distribution day is coming up on Saturday, July 13 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the pantry. They are located at 4500 Shepard Street, Suite B-1 in Bakersfield. More information can be found on their website.

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