DSCC Participant Opens Community Pet Pantry
Emma Wiker’s community effort helps local pets stay fed and cared for during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For six years, Emma Wiker has run the Animal Abusive Protection Program to raise money for abused or abandoned animals in Menard County.
The 15-year-old sells buttons and key chains and organizes a hugely popular annual dog walk in her hometown of Athens to benefit the program.
For the 2020 dog walk, Emma decided to use the proceeds to open the Animal Abusive Protection Program Pet Pantry over the summer. The pantry ensures that no local animal will go hungry due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Emma has been a participant of the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Division of Specialized Care for Children (DSCC) for the last four years. Her mother, Violet, is DSCC’s Family Liaison.
The Wiker family says Emma grew up with a determined spirit and desire to help others. Emma was inspired to start the dog walk in 2014 after seeing a disturbing image of an abused dog that went viral on social media.
Emma handles all the responsibilities of planning and coordinating the dog walk herself and has become a local celebrity. For this year’s walk on July 26, Emma asked her younger sister, Ellen, age 12, to partner with her.
The sisters raised a grand total of $1,978 from this year’s event.
Emma and Ellen worked with community member Jim Roles, who designed, built and donated the pantry.
The pet pantry is stocked with food, treats and toys. It is set up for pet owners to take what they need and for others to leave donations as they are able.
The funds raised during the dog walk have helped fill the pantry when community donations run low. Demand at the pantry has been high, with Emma and Ellen stocking the shelves multiple times.
The pet pantry is located in Athens Community Park.
Kudos to Emma and Ellen for helping to fill a genuine need in their community!