Debbie Marcellus has been running the Alberta Lost Pet Locator and Rescue Society (A.L.P.L.) Cold Lake Pet Food Bank since December 2016. During her delegation presentation at the September 26, 2017 City of Cold Lake Regular Council meeting, she asked for help finding a new distribution centre because in one week she has to vacate her present location, which is at the back of Herbs for Less in Cold Lake. (Herbs for Less has been donating the space to her, free of charge, since February of 2017).
Marcellus explains, “We have 110 families using the pet food bank and that number climbs all the time.” With the help of her family, and two volunteers, Marcellus travels to the Edmonton area weekly to pick up the pet food supplied by the A.L.P.L. On Wednesdays, she pre-bags the food, and on Thursdays she transports it to the pet food bank, which is open from 11:00 a.m to 2:00 p.m every Thursday.
Although Marcellus hasn’t connected with the Lakeland Humane Society yet, she has raised money through barbecues and garage sales. She also has pet food collection boxes at the Dollar Tree and Sobeys in Cold Lake. At the pet food bank, she distributes food for cats and dogs, and other pets who may need it such as rabbits, turtles, and fish. In the future, she would like to extend the help they provide to include covering the costs of veterinarian services such as spaying and neutering. The families and individuals who receive the food are grateful. She recalls one woman who exchanged a pair of earrings for the food, and another who hugged her and said, “You guys are doing an awesome job doing this. Thank-you.”
After Marcellus told Council a little bit about the pet food bank, Cold Lake City Councillor Bob Buckle spoke up. “Knowing this request was coming forward, I was in conversation with someone today and they are likely to get you a space; free of charge.” Before this week is over, Marcellus will be getting her new location ready to open for Thursday, October 5, 2017. The new location will be at the Marina Mall in Cold Lake North in a room in the Accounting Plus office. The pet food bank will be accessible through the back door of that building. She will have a sandwich board up to direct people to the proper door.
Marcellus, who has fourteen rescue dogs of her own, said, “I would do this (distribute pet food) out of my truck if I had to”. She is grateful for the new location and adds, “I don’t want to see families broke up or pets surrendered or euthanized when they don’t have to be. For some people, their pets are all they have left.”