Vernon boy’s pet food collection is ready for distribution Vernon Eight-year-old Nicola Ramella had a big ambition: to raise money, donations and awareness for hungry pets. To this end, in about a month’s time, Nicola raised $300 and collected just about a ton of cat food, dog food and cat litter for residents of Sussex County who are having trouble feeding their pets. Nicola’s pet food drive was spurred by his love of dogs and recent reports showing an increase in the number of people who are having trouble feeding their family pets. Nicola became aware that the recent economic downturn has forced some people to choose between feeding themselves and feeding the family pets. As a result, some are facing the unhappy situation of surrendering their family pet to already overburdened public and private shelters. “We are shocked and deeply touched at the amount of donations we received,” says Nicola’s mother Khris Ramella. “We know times are tough for everyone, including us, so to see people reach down and offer up what they could is touching and shows my son that people can band together and make a difference.” “Our minivan is full to the brim with donations!” The family says they also hope that people in need will hear about the donations and know that they can go to the Sussex County Food Bank in Newton and food pantries at Harvest House in Sussex, Newton Baptist in Newton, and Sparta Presbyterian in Sparta if they need food so they can try to avoid giving up their animals. Nicola says he was happy to be able to help out dogs and people in need. The Ramella family says they are keenly aware that ”pets are helpless victims of this economic downturn and rely on others to feed and care for them.” How to get help feeding your pets They Ramella family wants people in need to know that they can go to the Sussex County Food Bank in Newton and food pantries at Harvest House in Sussex, Newton Baptist in Newton, and Sparta Presbyterian in Sparta if they need pet food, so they can try to avoid giving up their animals.