The Riley County Humane Society will begin offering a twice-monthly emergency pet food pantry Saturday morning in the northwest lot of First United Methodist Church.

Erin Bishop, foster home application coordinator for the society, said the pet food pantry came as more families have struggled to make ends meet as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis and economic downturn.

To use the drive-through pet food pantry, patrons must fill out an application listing their pet details — such as age, weight, breed and vaccinations — as well as agreeing to conditions like not adopting any additional pets while receiving assistance and promising not to resell the food. Once the application is complete, volunteers will give pet owners a one-time supply of two weeks of food per pet, up to the county limit of five pets per household. Officials said it’s possible to get additional assistance, but patrons would have to fill out additional income paperwork.

Bishop said the drive-through pet food pantry is supported by a grant from the Caroline Peine Foundation for startup costs, as well as support from Sunflower Pet. The society is also looking for a more permanent space to store and give away food, as volunteers currently bag portions of food in a storage unit.

“We’re a supplemental emergency food pantry, so folks don’t have to choose between feeding themselves and feeding their pets,” she said. “That’s the ultimate goal, to reduce the homeless pet population.”

The first pet food pantry is 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday and will be held on the first and third Saturdays of each month subsequently. Applications for pet food assistance are available online at bit.ly/RCHSPANTRYAPP or in-person at the event. The pantry is also taking donations and has an Amazon Wishlist at bit.ly/RCHSPANTRYWISH.