The great animal lover, Jessica Pankiewicz, dreamed of starting a non-profit organization that would help pets and their owners. She wouldn’t live to see her dream come true, as Pankiewicz died suddenly in
32 years old.
Her stepfather and husband Ted Pankiewicz Sr. and Ted Pankiewicz Jr. made it their mission to create an organization that would make Jessica proud, and thus was born For the Love of Paws, a pantry and a sanctuary that focuses on the elderly and their pets.
The group’s Paws Meals on Wheels pet food bank provides 12,000 pounds of pet food per month to seniors, vets, people with disabilities and others struggling with the cost of food beloved animals.
At 7:30 a.m. on the second Saturday of the month, cars start lining up at the Wickham Park stables to wait for the 16-foot truck which is a mobile pet pantry.
“We are distributing an average of 3,000 books on this day,” said Ted Pankiewicz Sr.
A second mobile pantry arrives at 10 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month at Barefoot Bay.
Anyone on Medicare, Medicaid, or food stamps can qualify for pet food assistance.
The Pet Brick and Mortar Pantry is located in Fellsmere. Its sanctuary, dedicated to elderly pets and the pets of the elderly who can no longer care for animals, is also located at
“For many seniors, their dog, cat, bird or any other pet is their friend, family, love, and Paws gives them the peace of mind that their pet will be cared for with love and compassion.” said volunteer Claudia Martino.
If a permanent home cannot be found for the animal, the animal will live its life in the care of Paws volunteers, who will also create a temporary place for the pets of the elderly undergoing surgery.
Paws has grown in leaps and bounds, adding the former Space Coast Kibble Kitchen under its wing. Pankiewicz, a retired K-9 police officer, searches for additional space. While his Fellsmere pantry is open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for distribution and Brevard residents are welcome, Pankiewicz admits it’s a long drive.
“We are looking for a fixed location in Brevard,” he said.
Getting over 120,000 pounds of pet food that Paws handed out in 2019 and 2020 is no easy task.
“We don’t steal, but we beg and borrow,” Pankiewicz said.
Donations to For the Love of Paws are always appreciated. Anyone interested in helping establish a permanent pet food bank in Brevard should contact Pankiewicz at 772-539-2417. For more information visit pawspetsanctuary.org.