AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Coloradans across the state have graciously given food to those impacted by the government shutdown. However, one local group decided to take it one step further, by making sure financially-strained government employees also have what they need to feed their pets.

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James Lamb, an employee of the Bureau of Land Management, told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas, the shutdown was forcing him to rely on others to make ends meet. With a large family and several cats and dogs, Lamb was not financially prepared to go without pay for weeks on end.

James Lamb (credit: CBS)

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Thanks to those with Jewish Family Services in Aurora, Lamb was able to collect enough food to feed his family for the coming weeks. Lamb said the assistance came just in time.

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“This is my second shutdown I’ve been through,” Lamb said. “We’ve been looking for utility assistance, and everything. (If it weren’t for the food pantry) I’d be out there on the street corner, with a cardboard sign. It would come down to that. It’s bad.”

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Outside the food pantry in the snow, dozens waited in line for assistance feeding their pets, as well as their families. Lamb was one of many who received assistance from the Colorado Pet Pantry, a mobile team that gives free cat and dog food to those in need. Once, every other month, the pantry gives enough food to feed pets for 30 days.

Eileen Lambert (credit: CBS)

“Pets are family,” said Eileen Lambert, Executive Director of the Colorado Pet Pantry. “Our whole goal is to help people to feed their pets in time of financial struggles. We really want to help make sure everybody has enough food for themselves, and their pets.”

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The pet pantry gave away an estimated 2,000 pounds of pet food on Friday. Lambert said Lamb was not the first government employee impacted by furlough to contact them for assistance.

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“(The pantry gave me) about 220 pounds of cat food, and dog food. That is going to last through this whole thing, I am hoping,” Lamb said.

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Lamb said he was grateful for the pantries coming together, and providing for those who are less fortunate, or in times of unexpected need.

“It is amazing what they are doing for people in the community,” Lamb said. “The community is coming together. Everybody is going to make it through this.”

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The Colorado Pet Pantry is accepting donations.

Dillon Thomas

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