East Waldoboro Pet Food Pantry helps Mainers with rising costs

Nadine Molloy runs the No Bowl Empty 2 Pet Food Pantry out of her East Waterboro garage. She has been doing it for seven years, despite supply challenges in 2022.

WATERBORO, Maine — For seven years, Nadine Molloy has directed the No Empty Bowl 2 Pet Food Pantry outside his East Waterboro garage. It’s a mission he’s been passionate about ever since he closed down his animal rescue center to do it.

“I call myself the kibble queen,” Molloy said, laughing.

Molloy said she now cares for 1,352 pets a month. Most are cats and dogs, although some are smaller animals such as gerbils and hamsters. Molloy said that’s nearly double the roughly 700 pets he cared for at this time last year.

She said most of her clients are seniors living on fixed incomes, the homeless or simply members of the community trying to survive on what they have.

“We’re free from lawsuits,” Molloy said. “I do not require you to show income or show need.”

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Molloy said the big drivers of need have been job losses during the pandemic and the current state of the economy.

The 501c3 pantry has also not been immune to the effect of inflation. Last week, Molloy put out a call for help on Facebook, saying she had to cancel distributions in two days in June. That post caught people’s attention.

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“We started getting immediate shipments of food and junk — canned food, dry food, toys,” Molloy said.

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For Mainers like Jean Smith of Steep Falls, that call to action has been crucial. She was in the pantry on Tuesday to pick up food and toys for her older cat and two dogs.

“I would feed my pets before I feed myself,” Smith said. She lives on a fixed income as a senior and said adjusting to skyrocketing prices everywhere has been a challenge.

“It’s been a great fight,” Smith said.

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Michelle Cobbett of Standish is a friend and occasional customer of Molloy’s. She also volunteers to help give back to the pantry, which has helped her feed her bunny, cat, four dogs, fish, frogs, and three lizards as a single mom.

“I’m probably spending about $300 a month on bedding, food, everything,” Cobbett said.

He said he’s also noticed prices have gone up lately, even at the pet store.

“[It] it may have been $1.58 for a can before, and now it’s $1.78,” Cobbett said.

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Molloy said the recent monetary and supply donations he received will last about a month. If you would like to help with the cause, or if you need help yourself, you can visit the pantry. Facebook page. Molloy said he serves people from Androscoggin and Oxford counties.

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