September 10, 2019 – Phoenix, AZ. – One-in-four seniors live alone, often with a pet as their only source of comfort. With nearly 7 million seniors living at or below the poverty line, many are finding it increasingly difficult to support themselves – let alone a pet. Meals on Wheels America, the leading organization dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger, says thousands of their pet-owning clients will forgo their own resources to ensure their pets are fed before even taking a bite of a delivered meal themselves.
To help address these issues, PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, has committed $3 million to Meals on Wheels America to fund a three-year partnership that will support a national pet food pantry and veterinary care program to provide home-delivered meals and veterinary care to pets of home-bound seniors. Funds also will support research to help both organizations better understand the needs of Meals on Wheels clients and their pets. The partnership will be the first of its kind supported on a nationwide scale and is the largest gift from PetSmart Charities in its 25-year history.
“As an organization dedicated to supporting pets and the people who love them, PetSmart Charities is proud to partner with Meals on Wheels America to help keep seniors and their pets living healthier lives together,” said Deborah Turcott, acting president of PetSmart Charities. “We know there is a large population of seniors struggling to make ends meet and facing the difficult choice of going hungry or surrendering their beloved pet. This partnership will help ensure they won’t have to make that choice.”
“PetSmart Charities’ unprecedented generosity will support our ongoing efforts to deliver so much more than just a meal to our nation’s most vulnerable older adults,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “We know that seniors with pets are less likely to exhibit depression, report feelings of loneliness and experience illness, and our partnership will enable more of these invaluable, mutually-supportive relationships to be sustained in communities across America for years to come.”
Funding from the PetSmart Charities grant will also allow local Meals on Wheels programs to expand existing pet programs and improve access to pet care to include preventive medical care, temporary pet boarding, dog walking and grooming.
For more information on Meals on Wheels America, please visit www.MealsOnWheelsAmerica.org. For more information on PetSmart Charities and how grants are making an impact across North America, 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.
About PetSmart Charities®:
PetSmart Charities, Inc. is committed to finding lifelong, loving homes for all pets by supporting programs and thought leadership that bring people and pets together. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps to find forever homes and families for more than 600,000 shelter pets each year. Each year, millions of generous PetSmart shoppers help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities using the PIN pads at checkout registers inside PetSmart stores. In turn, PetSmart Charities efficiently uses more than 90 cents of every dollar donated to fulfill its role as the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, granting almost $400 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart Inc., PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, a third-party organization that reports on the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of nonprofits, for the past 16 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.
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Yosha Brunson Kuhl, 623-587-2177
Meals on Wheels America
Jenny Young, 571-339-1603