Sonya Colattur

Age: 15

School: Xavier College Preparatory

Year: Sophomore

City: Glendale




There’s a reason man’s best friend got that nickname. Pets are an inextricable part of our lives – some might say indispensable. But for seniors living on a fixed income, the costs of owning a pet can become prohibitive. 

Xavier College Preparatory sophomore Sonya Colattur has a solution. Her creation, GrandPaws Pantry, provides free dog and cat food for seniors so they don’t need to decide between their pets’ health and their own.

Colattur says her nonprofit steps in where the math simply doesn’t work.

“One of the seniors that I know in a facility is named Carol,” said Colattur, 15. “After paying for her medical expenses, cost of living, et cetera, she only has $19 a month to provide additional care for herself and her cat. One box of Friskies is $22.”

Colattur founded GrandPaws Pantry in 2016 when she was only 10 years old. Today, it’s earned official 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and has an annual budget of approximately $30,000. Colattur estimates that 57 seniors currently receive benefits from the pantry. 

“Because of the amount of pet food, which is the largest expense, I do a lot of fundraising,” Colattur said. “In the last few months there’s been over 1,000 pounds of pet food that we’ve pushed out. It’s definitely expanded a lot.”

The next stage for GrandPaws Pantry? Expansion and innovation.

“The pantry itself is completely operated out of my house. The size of it consists of my parents’ garage,” Colattur said, chuckling. “I’ve explored the idea of paying for a storage facility.”

Along with the pantry, she is currently working on multiple other projects, including one where she creates an online platform that provides a safe place for multi-cultural youth called The Color of Us. 

Colattur is also simultaneously raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and has raised over $2500 already!

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