The state's first food shelf dedicated only to pet food is holding a grand opening Sunday in south Minneapolis.
People and Pets Together opened its doors on the 3700 block of Bloomington Avenue South Sunday afternoon. Founder and president Kim Carrier said the volunteer group's goal isn't to rescue animals.
"We're basically set up to support relationships that people have with their pets," Carrier said. "If they're having some economic hardship, usually due to someone losing a job or medical bills, we'd prefer that people have support keeping their pets rather than making the choice to give them up."
Carrier said they hope to receive food donated by local companies and individuals. Volunteers plan to distribute 100,000 pounds of pet food in their first year.
"Now that we have a physical place and can store food, we're really hoping to build some relationships with more companies, manufacturers, distributors," Carrier said. "We'll take all the food where maybe the packaging went wrong or maybe they're changing the packaging, we'd love any food they can give us."
The group plans to distribute mostly dog and cat food in their opening months, but may offer food for other pets as well as they expand the operation. To start, the food will be available to residents of the Powderhorn, Phillips and Corcoran neighborhoods. The group hopes to launch regular hours around Christmas.
People and Pets Together has been distributing pet food to food shelves in the area since 2009, which Carrier said they hope to continue even as they open their own space.
Groveland Food Shelf director Dave Enghausen said demand has always been high for dog and cat food at the food shelf, with about 15 percent of customers bringing home pet food on a regular basis.
Enghausen said stocking pet food also helps his food shelf meet their goals of feeding people.
"People who are pet owners, they'll feed their pets before they feed themselves," Enghausen said. "It just makes it a little easier for them in order to feed themselves as well."
If you go: Pets and People Together grand opening
• When: Sunday, Oct. 18
• Time: 1-4 p.m.
• Where: Pets and People Together, 3755 Bloomington Avenue South, Minneapolis
• More information: See the food shelf's Facebook page