Loyal Companion, located on 200 Expedition Drive in Scarborough, hosted a fundraising event for No Bowl Empty Pet Food Pantry, a nonprofit organization based in Waterboro that feeds over 500 cats and dogs a month, said founder Nadine Molloy.  Catherine Bart photo

SCARBOROUGH — Loyal Companion hosted a fundraising event on Dec. 15 for No Bowl Empty Pet Food Pantry, a nonprofit, judgment-free organization that provides pet owners with supplies and food in times of need.

The store, located on 200 Expedition Drive in Scarborough, tries to host a fundraising event for the organization twice a month, said store manager Patricia Crawford, and volunteers are always needed.

No Bowl Empty is run by Nadine Molloy, said volunteer Michele Martin, who was collecting donations. The organization is based out of Molloy’s home in Waterboro.

The nonprofit serves Cumberland, York and Androscoggin counties, according to the nonprofit’s brochure. Founder Molloy said that she currently feeds 521 dogs and cats a month.

“Essentially, people can come in, no questions asked,” said Martin. “They can set appointments with [Molloy] to come to get food when they’re in any situation. It’s a totally judgment-free organization, so you can come with her and get pet food for up to six months at a time. After that she just asks that you take a period of three months in hopes … that the need won’t be there. But if it is, you can come back after that short break and continue to receive support from her organization.”

A first-time volunteer, Martin said that as a dog-lover, she really appreciates what the organization does for pet owners and their beloved animals.

“What excited me about her organization is that by helping people to feed pets that they have now, the likelihood that those pets are then surrendered to a shelter or in a rescue situation is much lower,” she said. “So I’ve been following her through social media and got interested in volunteering for that reason.”

Molloy said that her favorite part of what she does is seeing the look of “relief on people’s faces when they realize that they will be able to feed their pets and keep their pets in their homes.”

She said that No Bowl Empty started in May of 2015.

“I was running into more and more families surrendering their pets because they had fallen on hard times and could not afford to feed them, or they were elderly and being forced to choose between their medications and food for their pets,” she said. “Surrendering a beloved pet is very hard on both the humans and the pets. Many surrendered pets do not do well physically or emotionally in a shelter environment. Pets are not just pets — they are family members, companions and emotional support. No one should be forced to surrender their pet because they are unable to afford pet food.”

“All of the Loyal Companion locations in Maine have been an enormous help to No Bowl Empty,” Molloy said. “In addition to hosting us for events in their stores, they also donate all the items they cannot sell: such as broken bags, items nearing expiration, discontinued items, etc. There have been many times when a low inventory would cause us to stop assistance and the Loyal Companion stores have come through with donations to keep us operating without turning anyone away. The Loyal Companion stores also do a lot of work collecting food donations from their customers for No Bowl Empty. They have been some of our strongest supporters from the time we opened five years ago.”

Loyal Companion’s Scarborough location tries to hosts an event for No Bowl Empty at least twice a month, said store manager Patricia Crawford. Catherine Bart photo

Crawford said that she finds Molloy’s work to be special and beautiful, not only for the pets that she is helping, but also because of the community involvement.

“People will come up to her in tears, (and say) ‘Thank you for getting me through a hard time,’ and then they’ll give back,” Crawford said. “It’s a very special vibe that this nonprofit gives back. It’s the Christmas spirit in so many ways —that’s her spirit every day. It’s like magic.”

Besides food, No Bowl Empty collects other pet necessities, said Crawford. And as the holiday season is here, donations like wreaths were also coming through the store’s door.

“There are things you wouldn’t think of, like crates or bedding,” she said. “It’s not just the food. They need toys and treats to keep them stimulated. But mostly it’s just cat cans and kibble.”

Martin and Crawford added that Molloy needs a new heating system for her garage — where the pantry is located.

“She also needs a heating system for the garage that stores everything,” Martin said. “And she’s out there working: January, February, is a tough time to be out there. She’s using plug-in heaters.”

Crawford said that those who want to volunteer can come to Loyal Companion and be connected to Molloy. People can also visit the organization’s Facebook page or website: nobowlempty.org or call 233-2793 to volunteer, donate or set up an appointment.

The organization is truly judgment-free, said Crawford, who also hosts a variety of charities at her Scarborough location.

“Life is not always easy and tough times happen to us all,” said Molloy.

But Molloy’s group helps pet owners to get through some of those tough times.

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