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NOAH lands in village



IMG_0308_Raena_Kalfayan
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Raena Kalfayan (click for larger version)
December 15, 2010 - Ortonville- When Raena Kalfayan's husband Mark was laid off from his job a year-and-a-half ago, they turned to OCEF for help to sustain their family.

Soon, they found themselves using the assistance from OCEF to buy food for their two dogs, beagles named Sadie and Bentley, rather than for themselves.

"There are a lot of food pantries that help feed people, but no services in the area that help strictly with pet food and it's a large expense," noted Kalfayan. "My heart broke with the idea of having to tell our daughters that we couldn't feed our pets. They are members of our family, too, and that's the one member of the family that kind of gets forgotten when families are struggling."

Raena and Mark Kalfayan vowed that once they got back on their feet, they would do something to help other pet owners struggling to care for their furry friends amidst hard times. In September, Mark found a full-time job and they are making good on their promise to help others.

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Raena Kalfayan and Janet Haering formed the non-profit organization North Oakland Animal Help, located at 457 Mill St., in downtown Ortonville. On Wednesday, they planned to help more than 100 families that count amongst their members 263 dogs and cats, by distributing 3,700 pounds of dog food and 1,200 pounds of cat food. Each family in need will receive enough to feed their animals for one month. In January, those families will be able to return again to NOAH and receive more pet food.

"Hamilton's Feed has helped us out and been very gracious helping us with the building and getting things going," said Kalfayan. "We will run similar to OCEF and have appointments two days a week for food distribution."

She plans to coordinate with OCEF hours and service families that have qualified for assistance from Lighthouse in Clarkston or with OCEF. On Monday, during the OCEF Christmas distribution, she was signing up families to receive help for their pets.

"People are very excited about it," Kalfayan said. "Several expressed how difficult it is to afford food for their animals and that our help would be a welcome relief. Sometimes the OCEF food pantry gets donations of pet food, but it goes really quickly."

Hamilton's gave North Oakland Animal Help a discount on the pet food they purchased to assist families, and NOAH hopes to receive donations to the 501c3 organization in order to keep the pet food distributions rolling.

Donations can be accepted online at www.helpfeedfido.com, or make checks payable to North Oakland Animal Help (NOAH), P.O. Box 679, Ortonville, MI 48462. Details: Raena Kalfayan, 248-894-6185.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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