AKRON, OH (WOIO) - The People Care Pet Pantry was started in the middle of the economic crisis of 2009 when Rene Lamp and her husband heard multiple stories of families surrendering their pets because they couldn't afford to keep them.
Since then, her pantry has fed thousands of animals and kept those pets out of shelters, where they may have been destroyed.
But now, Lamp and her husband find themselves in need.
"I have 300 families a month that count on me. So, it's not just my family that I have to look at. It was what about all these families? What about all these pets that are staying with their families because of what we are doing. I can't let them down," said Lamp.
Lamp says she lost the job she held for 17 years because of medical issues, and her house is now in jeopardy of foreclosure.
Even with all of the financial problems she faces, Lamp is still helping get food and medical care for other people's pets.
Lisa Gyulai and her son Nicholas picked up food and kitty litter for their cats at a home where some of the supplies are kept.
If it weren't for the free pet food pantry, Gyulai says she would have to get rid of their precious pets.
The pantry even helped them get their cats spayed and neutered.
"I am a single mother who is disabled. That wraps that up right there. Any extra expense is extra expense, and with the pet pantry - it's just been a lot of help," said Gyulai.
The People Care Pet Pantry provides food for everything from fish to horses. Lamp says the people she helps are responsible pet owners who suddenly found themselves down on their luck.
"These people weren't in a bad situation and got a pet. These people had these pets," added Lamp.
The impact the pantry has had is life-changing. In fact, owner surrenders were suddenly down at a local shelter, according to Lamp, once her pantry started offering assistance.
Dana Ray was once on the receiving end of the pantry's help when she lost her job in 2010.
She now volunteers and is trying to get the word out that a closed pantry will mean hundreds of pets going without.
"We keep stressing. We are donations only, and without the donations, we are nothing," said Ray.
CLICK HERE to learn more about the People Care Pet Pantry.