Knowing that seniors with pets are 36% less likely to report loneliness and have 21% fewer doctor visits*, Meals on Wheels Foundation of WNY (MOW) is proud to announce that it has received a $2,500 grant from Meals on Wheels America to support its client pet support program, AniMeals. Funding will be used to provide food, supplies and care for MOW clients with pets – all of which can be financially and physically burdensome.
“More than 70 percent of our clients live alone. For most of these clients, the Meals on Wheels volunteers and their animal companions are the only company they have on a daily basis,” Tara A. Ellis, President and CEO, said. “The combination of our home-delivered meals and AniMeals is a perfect one that keeps our clients and their pets healthy so they can stay together in their homes.”
Meals on Wheels for Western New York’s AniMeals program began in 2006. On average, the program serves 50 dogs and 80 cats in the region each month, and delivers approximately 9,025 pounds of pet food per year.
“The Meals on Wheels Loves Pets initiative is just another way that Meals on Wheels can deliver so much more than just a meal,” said Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander. “Through grant funding, educational opportunities and in-kind donations for our member programs, we hope to grow current pet programs and help those looking to start new ones.”
In total, Meals on Wheels America has granted $300,000 to 162 local Meals on Wheels programs through the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets initiative this year. Funding is made possible in part through a donation from Banfield Charitable Trust (BCT) who, in October 2015, handed over all funding and grants administration responsibilities for their popular Pet Assistance Grant Program to Meals on Wheels America. To date, the grant program has distributed more than $2.1 million in funding and pet food donations to more than 300 local Meals on Wheels programs across the nation.
*Sources: Stanley, I. H., Conwell, Y., Bowen, C., & Van Orden, K. A. (2014). Pet Ownership may Attenuate Loneliness Among Older Adult Primary Care Patients Who Live Alone. Aging & Mental Health, 18(3), 394–399. http://doi.org/10.1080/13607863.2013.837147; Siegel, J.M. (1990). Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly: The moderating role of pet ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 1081-1086.