Daniella Scala-Nathan started it with her husband Robert Nathan three years ago to help pet owners affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, but they kept it going to help people on Long Island.
"During the pandemic, we had a lot of people asking for food," Scala-Nathan said. "So we were giving out and picking up."
But during the past few months, the shelves empty out at times, in part because pet stores haven't been able to donate stock. Donations from individuals are also are down.
"Some people are reluctant because they are having financial hardships themselves," she said. "And some people are hesitant because of COVID, they're afraid to come in contact with anything."
That fear is something she understands all too well. She lost a lung as a child and has asthma, and she was so immunocompromised her husband moved in with his elderly parents to protect her -- but he ended up getting sick.
"He was having difficulty breathing," she said.
Robert Nathan died on April 14, five days after their 15th anniversary. Now, she's more dedicated to the pantry than ever before.
"My husband would be proud," she said.
While many people are adopting pets right now, Scala-Nathan knows that finances are tight for others.
"I've heard thanks to us, that's one less finance they have to deal with," she said.
She hopes her pantry can help those families going forward.
"I'm afraid if people can't care for their pets, they'll end up in shelters or rescues," she said.
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