A new pet food pantry located inside Second Harvest Food Bank has distributed 2,200 pounds of free pet food since Jan. 1.
Now, it’s the pantry itself that needs food.
“I’m not a pantry if I don’t have any food,” said Don Myers, president of Pet Pantry Springfield.
Myers applied last October to the Internal Revenue Service for nonprofit status, which would make it easier for him to receive donated pet food directly from manufacturers.
But, after 90 days of waiting, he recently called the IRS and was told to call back in 30 more days — time he doesn’t have considering that, as far as cat food goes, he’s down to just six cans of Fancy Feast.
Through food drives and other events, Myers, 57, and others have been able to scrounge together enough dog and cat food until now.
Myers is concerned that it could be months before the IRS processes Pet Pantry’s application.
While the IRS couldn’t comment on Pet Pantry’s case, the agency said it’s possible the application needs further development. The average wait time for what are known as full development applications is about five months.
Myers doesn’t think there’s much to review. Pet Pantry only has a three-person board, he said, none of whom will be paid.
“We won’t know anything until they at least look at it,” he said.
In fiscal year 2012, according to the revenue service, 70 percent of applications were reviewed and closed within 120 days. The IRS receives about 60,000 applications for exemption annually.
In Clark County alone, the number of nonprofit organizations jumped from 800 two years ago to 1,052 in 2012, according to Doug Lineberger, executive director of the United Way of Clark, Champaign and Madison Counties.
Second Harvest is donating space to Pet Pantry within its warehouse at 701 E. Columbia St. because of the need that exists.
“We hear more and more from people that their pets have no food,” said Keith Williamson, regional director of the food bank that serves Clark, Champaign and Logan counties.
“People are fighting hunger. Now more than ever,” he added. “And their pets go right along with the problem.”
Myers believes a need clearly exists for his service, as evidenced by how many pounds of pet food have been handed out. And, so far, the pantry has only served Second Harvest’s current client base.
“Once the word actually gets out there,” Myers worried, “we’re going to be swamped.”
To donate pet food, email Myers at email@example.com or call 937-925-2274.
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