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Phinney’s Opens its Second Pantry: Partnership with Cotting School allows Phinney’s to expand services to struggling low-income families in Massachusetts

October 5, 2016

Cotting School, a nonprofit school in Lexington, founded in 1893 to serve students with special needs, started the school year with a new and exciting project — it launched a pet pantry managed jointly with Phinney’s Friends.

The new school activity is teaching young adults how to manage a pantry operation while it allows Phinney’s to distribute more pet supplies to low-income families in Massachusetts. The new facility in Lexington is managing all Phinney’s food-related donations, while the pet nonprofit pantry located in Lincoln is focusing on non-perishable supplies.

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Phinney’s President, Daniela Caride, trains Cotting School students to work in the pantry.

“Time and again we have seen people give up their own food to feed their hungry pets, or spend their monthly allowance at the people pantry on pet foods because they can’t afford to buy it at the market,” says Daniela Caride, President of Phinney’s Friends.

“Can you imagine the heartbreak of giving up your pet during a crisis, which is when you need your pet the most? We are so proud that we are joining forces with Cotting School, allowing Phinney’s to grow and help more low-income families struggling to keep their animals.”

Two classes work weekly at the Cotting pantry in Lexington. One class takes inventory, bags items for deliveries and makes phone calls to check if stores that gather Phinney’s donations need a pickup. The other class inspects incoming donations dropped off by Phinney’s volunteers, sorts them by type of pet and expiration date, and scratches off barcodes and prices.

Both nonprofits began finding synergies a couple of years ago, when Cotting School sent to Phinney’s Friends pantry in Lincoln the first group of kids to sort and organize donations. Their Project Bridges Program gives the students an opportunity to acquire work experience, while Phinney’s gets much needed hands-on volunteer help at its office.

The friendship flourished and brought opportunities for students to help Phinney’s Friends in other areas, such as clerical work, mail pickups, donation pickups and deliveries, blogging, tweeting and even dog treat baking.

“We are so honored we now have a long-term relationship with such a strong organization that we deeply admire. By holding hands with Cotting, we hope Phinney’s will continue growing and be able to help low-income people with their pets for generations to come.”

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