Community

Marysville teen donates pet food to food bank

Kaliene Kopp and Colton McGuire are handing out bags of pet food to seniors at the Marysville Community Food Bank on Mondays. - Kirk Boxleitner
Kaliene Kopp and Colton McGuire are handing out bags of pet food to seniors at the Marysville Community Food Bank on Mondays.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Colton McGuire hopes to help clients of the Marysville Community Food Bank not need to decide between feeding themselves or feeding their pets.

The Marysville Arts & Technology High School senior was initially inspired by a story in The New York Times, which reported that elderly people in need were actually eating less themselves, in order to keep feeding their pets.

"I wondered if that might be a problem locally," McGuire said. "I know that pet food can be very expensive, because my grandmother owns many cats."

With his mission selected, McGuire spent two Saturdays at Albertsons this past December, collecting approximately 840 pounds of pet food, which he and his friend Kaliene Kopp began dispensing outside of the Marysville Community Food Bank on Monday, Jan. 27.

"Mondays are the day that the Food Bank sets aside for its senior and disabled customers," McGuire said on the following Monday, Feb. 3, as he and Kopp handed over bags and cans of pet food directly from the trunk of their car. "I expect we'll be here for at least two more Mondays."

McGuire noted that dog food has been more popular than cat food so far, but emphasized that he's got enough for Food Bank clients' cats as well.

"Cats can eat a lot too," McGuire said. "I think pet owners might not notice it as much, because they tend to have more of a set feeding schedule for their dogs, whereas cat owners are used to their cats snacking from the food bowl throughout the day."

McGuire and Kopp are parceling out one bag and two cans of food to each pet owner, depending on the number and size of their pets.

"Usually, the Food Bank will divide the bags of pet food up into smaller portions, but we want to be able to give each pet owner a whole product," said McGuire, who praised the Food Bank and its volunteers for their support.

"We're always glad to accept more donations of dog and cat food," Marysville Community Food Bank Director Dell Deierling said. "When I heard that Colton wanted to hand it out himself, I thought that was super. He's come out here in a jacket and tie, dressed to the tees."

Deierling estimated that roughly around half of the Food Bank's clients have pets they're supporting, in addition to themselves.

"People shouldn't be put in a position of having to choose between feeding their pets or feeding themselves, or getting rid of their best friends," Deierling said. "It's nice that Colton can serve as the conduit for so many people's generosity. Even a small amount of pet food might be enough to help out our folks."

Deierling characterized McGuire and Kopp as representative of many local youths as a whole, in terms of their interest in and commitment to contributing positively to the Marysville community. He added that the annual Scrub-A-Mutt event has also played a vital part in supplying the Food Bank with pet food.

The Marysville Community Food Bank is located at 4150 88th St. NE. For more information, call 360-658-1054, email marysvillefoodbank@frontier.com or log onto http://marysvillefoodbank.org.

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