This month, the Johnson and Ellis Counties in Texas launched a new segment to their Meals-on-Wheels program. They are now delivering dog and cat food to their clients who own those types of pets.
Linda Deese, with Meals-on-Wheels, indicated that pets provide senior citizens with friendship, joy, and a reason for living. However, many times those seniors do not have money to buy food for themselves or for their pets. Meals-on-Wheel volunteers often see the seniors sharing their delivered meal with their pet. This showed a need to provide food for pets, too.
Joshua is the eighth community to launch AniMeals. (It was first launched nearby in Burleson in 2009. All of the pet food that is delivered to the seniors is donated. It is delivered at the same time when seniors receive their noon-time meal.
Employees from Joshua Self Storage Solutions take time from their busy schedule to deliver food on the first Monday of every month for the Meals-on-Wheels program. Joseph Sidawi, manager at Joshua Self Storage Solutions, indicated his employees are all animal lovers and have a desire to help the seniors and their pets. Joshua Self Storage Solutions has been involved with Meals-on-Wheels now for about a year.
The local animal shelter helps collect the pet food donations and also stores the food during the month. The animal shelter works closely with Joshua Self Storage volunteers to make sure the collected pet food is properly delivered to seniors with pets.
Meals on Wheels started during WWII when meals were delivered in prams to British servicemen. The first program in the United States opened when meals were delivered to homebound residents in Philadelphia. It is one of America’s oldest and largest organizations with over 5,000 Senior Nutrition Programs serving over one million meals per day. (It’s interesting to note that Mississippi and New Mexico are the states with the highest rates of seniors facing the threat of hunger!)
Studies have found that pet owning senior citizens have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower rates of illness, and lower mortality rates than non-pet owners. Those pet-owning seniors also get more involved in daily activities and socializing.
So, logic and reason would follow that if a pet was healthy and had food that the pet-owning senior citizen would also be healthier. So, Joseph Sidawi and his employees at Joshua Self Storage Solutions are helping to keep pets and pet-owners healthy – and happy.
“Meals-on-Wheels taking on four-legged Clients.” Joshua Star; 27 November 2013.