BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) -If you have a pet, you know that the food can get pricey. A local church is here to help. The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Buffalo offers a pet pantry where anyone can get food for their fur babies absolutely free.

“We don’t ask for names we don’t ask for identification, we simply trust that if you come asking for food you need it,” said Father Michael Hadaway, the church’s rector.

The pantry was created in 2011 by church Decon Pete Dempsey Sims, when she learned many parishioners with low income would go without food in order to feed their pets. The church named the pantry in her honor when she died several years later.

The pantry is held on the first Sunday of every month. It begins with a short service and blessing of the pets at 2:30 p.m. and then volunteers hand out pet food from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.

People in the community say they’re grateful to have the extra help when times get hard.

“It’s a big chip off of what you have to spend in order to help other animals. It’s a blessing to have this kind of program,” said Khadida Tall of Buffalo.

The church provides two bags of cat or dog food per family. They also hand out treats and toys depending on what has been donated that month.

“Normally it’s dog and cat food only. If somebody delivers something else we’ll give that, out but we make sure we have enough dog and cat food on hand for everyone,”Hadaway said.

Whatever’s available, residents say the program is a blessing to their pets and their pockets.

“I want to thank the volunteers so much for their kindness and their compassion. It’s whats needed in this world today and starting from animals is a great start,” said Joni Russ of Precious Paws Rescue.

If you’d like to donate to Pete’s Pet Pantry you can order online at Pet Supplies Plus at the Delaware Avenue location or drop off pet food at the church at 96 Jewett Pkwy in Buffalo.

The following churches also offer pet pantry services :

St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church
13021 West Main St., Alden
11 a.m.-12 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month.

St. Matthias’ Episcopal Church
374 Main St., East Aurora
1 p.m.-3 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month.

Grace Episcopal Church
100 Genesee St., Lockport
11 a.m.-12 p.m. on the third Sunday of each month.

Trinity Episcopal Church
62 West Buffalo St., Warsaw
2p.m.-3 p.m. on the first Sunday of each month.