“Pets Are Their Lifeline:” New Program Offers Meals for Furry Friends of Housebound Older Adults

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SALISBURY, Md.- “We would note that their Meals On Wheels container would be on the floor. “We would say why is it on the floor?” They couldn’t afford or find food for their pets, so they shared their meals,” said Joseph Ferraro, delivery coordinator for MAC Inc. Meals on Wheels.

Meals brought in from Mac’s Meals on Wheels just didn’t feed the entire household.

Peggy Bradford of the Salisbury Maryland Kennel Club says the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to nourish not only seniors but their furry friends as well. “For many people, pets are their lifeline,” said SMKC Member and SMKC Charitable Trust Treasurer Peggy Bradord.

“So we said, hey, let’s see if we can get our members and community involved and raise money so we can buy groceries for Meals on Wheels recipients.”

It’s called the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets program. It was funded by a grant of over $8,000 from Meals on Wheels of America. The Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore also contributed to these efforts.

The program operated as a pilot during its first year, and those we spoke to said the positive reception from the community and seniors helped show that it was filling a need.

The program provides pet food for seniors from Meals on Wheels in Wicomico County. Monthly, participants are surveyed about their pet needs, the program shops accordingly, then a group of volunteers pack food for drivers to deliver to customers.

“We want to keep the pets healthy, keep the elderly healthy, and make this community better,” Bradford said.

We’re told that the program not only provides meals for pets, but also helps reduce stress for their owners. “We had one gentleman who said he slept better at night because he didn’t have to worry about feeding his pet.”

63 customers, 100+ pets and 11,000+ meals later, the program continues to grow. Now, those we spoke to say they need a helping hand from the community to continue serving. “Your support can make a huge difference to an elderly person and to this pet,” Bradford said.

MAC’s mission is to help older adults thrive in their homes and their communities.

As the need for the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets Service continues to grow, the program relies on donations.

If you are interested in lending a helping paw and for more information, contact Al Chandler at (410)-742-0505 ext. 144

You can also visit MAC here

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