Meals on Wheels America is proud to announce that the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets grant program, supported by PetSmart Charities, has distributed $601,538 in grants to support senior nutrition program pet services nationwide. Funding will be used to provide Meals on Wheels clients and their pets with food, supplies, grooming and improved access to veterinary care, all of which can often present financial and physical challenges for older adults to manage on their own.
This partnership with PetSmart Charities is part of Meals on Wheels America’s strategic effort to combat social isolation and loneliness among seniors across the country and has helped nearly 17,000 Meals on Wheels clients remain at home to age in place with their beloved pets. This year, Meals on Wheels America and PetSmart Charities awarded grants to 79 local Meals on Wheels programs through the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets initiative.
One in four seniors live alone
One in four seniors lives alone and, for many of them, their pet is their closest companion. In fact, recent research made possible by PetSmart Charities and released in June shows that nearly 100 percent of Meals on Wheels clients receiving pet services report that their pet brings happiness to their life. Seniors with pets are less likely to exhibit depression, report feelings of loneliness and experience illness. However, clients with pets often face financial or transportation barriers to securing adequate pet care, and many may forgo their own personal care in order to provide for their pets.
“Having the company of a pet not only makes homebound seniors feel less lonely but also improves their physical and mental well-being, helping them to stay happier, healthier and more independent. Yet, nearly half of the clients receiving pet assistance from Meals on Wheels don’t have anyone else to help them with their pet needs,” said Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander. “That’s why we’re so appreciative of our growing partnership with PetSmart Charities – it makes it possible for us to continue to invest Meals on Wheels Loves Pets grants in local Meals on Wheels programs in 31 states to provide critical supplies, care and assistance.”
“As an organization dedicated to supporting pets and the people who love them, PetSmart Charities is proud to continue partnering with Meals on Wheels America to help provide essential services to seniors and their pets,” said PetSmart Charities President Aimee Gilbreath. “We know there is a large population of seniors experiencing financial challenges caused by the pandemic and facing the difficult choice of caring for themselves or their beloved pet. This partnership helps ensure they won’t have to make that choice.”
For more information on Meals on Wheels America’s efforts surrounding older adults and their pets, please visit https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/connection. For more information on PetSmart Charities, please visit www.petsmartcharities.org.
ABOUT MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICA
Meals on Wheels America is the leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network serves virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.