04/19/10 — Feeding hungry pets one step at a time

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Feeding hungry pets one step at a time

By Laura Collins
Published in News on April 19, 2010 1:46 PM

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Gary Rollins walked more than 15 miles so pets would not go hungry. When finding the Humane Society's Food Pantry storage bin barren of food, Rollins took to the streets to raise more than $2,500 for the pantry.

Gary Rollins of Fremont saw a need and took matters into his own hands last week, with the help of some friends.

Rollins, 60, who volunteers for the Wayne County Humane Society, helps pass out pet food every month to people who can no longer afford to buy it.

On the third Sunday of every month the Humane Society distributes pet food to more than 100 people.

"For the last couple months we didn't have nearly the amount we needed," Rollins said.

The realization that another pet food distribution day was only a week away led to a sleepless night. By morning, he had decided on a walk to raise money for the program.

Rollins, owner of Circle Tire and Gas on Ash Street, contacted business associates, friends and family members about his impromptu walk. Some gave a flat fee and others committed to a per mile donation.

"I had no idea how far I could walk," he said. "The most I had walked before was two or three miles."

So last Saturday, Rollins woke up early and set out from Fremont at about 6:45 a.m. His leg started hurting somewhere around Belfast, so he stopped in a store along the way to get some pain reliever, then continued on his walk.

"I was thinking about what I was walking for and what it meant to so many people and it kept me motivated," he said. "Every pet you save has people attached to it, whether it's a family or one person. It's not just about helping pets, it's helping people."

Four hours later Rollins arrived at his Citgo station in downtown Goldsboro. But he didn't end his walk there, he continued on to Mickey's Pastry Shop before heading over to Carolina Mini Storage, the pet distribution site located on Berkeley Boulevard.

In total, Rollins said he walked about 15 miles and raised more than $2,500.

"I don't think we'll (run out of pet food) this Sunday," he said. "I think we'll be good."

Wayne County Humane Society President Barrett Parker said she wasn't surprised at Rollins' success.

"I know Gary and I know when he sets his mind to doing something he does it 150 percent. He had a plan and did the walk in the next two days," she said. "He didn't need to take time to talk about it or meet about it."

And though the people getting help with their pet food needs may feel like the winners in this situation, Rollins said it goes both ways.

"I feel like we're the beneficiary, seeing the people who are so tickled to get food, knowing you made a difference in someone's life," he said.

People interested in donating to the Humane Society Food Pantry can drop off food at Carolina Mini Storage, 206 N. Berkeley Blvd., Pet Supplies Plus, 319 N. Berkeley Blvd., or Circle Tire and Gas, 101 W. Ash St. To donate money, send a check to the Wayne County Humane Society, for "Food Pantry" at P.O. Box 821, Goldsboro, NC, 27533.