Firefighter Pays For Distressed Woman's Groceries, Then Launches A Mobile Pet Pantry

January 4, 2024

Today's good news story comes from Salem, New Jersey.

The idea for "Bo Lends A Paw" sparked when a Salem firefighter performed a random act of kindness for a woman in the checkout line at a local store.

mobile food pantry animals

It all began when Al Stell found himself behind a distressed woman at the local grocery store. As fate would have it, she realized she didn't have enough money to cover her essential groceries.

Al, witnessing her predicament, stepped in without hesitation. "When they rang her up... she didn't have enough money," Al told ABC 6 Action News. "So, she said 'my cats will eat before I do.'"

Al not only paid for her groceries but also recognized a need within the community. This encounter sparked a conversation with his wife, Tammy, about the possibility of establishing a mobile pet pantry to support those facing financial hardships.

Fast forward to the present, and "Bo Lends A Paw" has become a beacon of hope for pet owners in Salem and beyond. The nonprofit, named after the couple's dog Bo, who symbolizes the spirit of second chances, travels to various churches, fire departments, and community areas with a trailer loaded with pet supplies.

The Stells initially operated out of the back of their pickup truck, but the overwhelming support from the community has allowed them to upgrade to a small trailer, expanding their capacity to help even more families.

"We can help people feed their animals so they can save money and feed themselves," Al said.

The nonprofit's journey from a grocery store act of kindness to a fully-fledged pet pantry serves as a testament to the power of one person's compassion to ignite positive change within a community

Watch the good news video below.

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