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'I'll pay it forward': Claremore neighbors get free pet food from Light of Hope

Bailey the Dog in Claremore
Posted at 9:29 PM, Jun 18, 2024

CLAREMORE, Okla. — Light of Hope, a non-profit based in Claremore, is finding ways to keep helping its neighbors more than two weeks after a tornado blew through town.

An EF2 tornado hit Claremore in late May.It knocked out power for days and left damage behind. The town is still recovering.

Organizers told 2 News the need for pet food is big. On the evening of June 18, they hosted an event to give the food away and bring people together.

Just a few days after the storm, Mindie Baab had an idea. Surely, she thought, people would need food for their furry friends. It seems she was right, as the line for food at the event was long.

However, Baab said, that is just a small part of what they have given away.

According to Baab, a board member with Light of Hope, the group handed out thousands of bags of food. The need was there and it won’t go away.

“I cannot keep pet food in stock,” Baab said.

2 News met Amanda Jones at the event. She grabbed food for her dog, Luna, and cat, Tarzan.

“I thought I’d come and get some,” Jones said, “When I get on my feet, I’ll pay it forward.”

Things are tight for Jones, but she’s doing everything she can.

“[My pets] mean everything to me. They’re my best friends,” Jones said.

Nancy Phelps, Light of Hope’s executive director, said the tornado damaged the group’s building and they are operating remotely. However, they are still providing their services at full clip.

“These are things that we should be doing anyway,” Phelps said, “This tornado, if it’s taught us anything, it’s how to collaborate and work better together.”

Zachary Porter, dog dad to Bailey, moved to Claremore right before the tornado hit. He was at the event picking up food for Bailey.

He is proud of the way his new neighbors are upholding the Oklahoma Standard.

“Have fun, meet your neighbors, become friends with your neighbors and not enemies.”

Going forward, Light of Hope will gladly accept donations of pet supplies and will be willing to help those in need.

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