When Meals on Wheels arrives to deliver hot food, a grateful senior citizen answers the door to receive a free meal. But, occasionally, there’s another nose there to sniff the scent of a fresh meal — and it wags its tail.
Volunteers realized that the seniors on a fixed income are doubly challenged when it comes to feeding their pets. When CHEER volunteers deliver Meals on Wheels, they sometimes find the old lunch tray sitting on the floor — proof that the owners let their pets finish the meal.
“Some families would feed their animals instead of eating the meals delivered for themselves,” stated Carolyn Miller, president of a nonprofit that helps people afford their pets, Kenille’s Kupboard Pet Pantry & Rescue Inc.
So moved by the sight, “A lot of the time, [volunteers] take money out of their pocket to help pay for food for their [clients’] pets,” Miller said.
“We want our seniors … to eat all their lunch,” said Elizabeth Walls, CHEER volunteer program director.
But some pet owners can’t bear to eat a whole tray of food, especially if they can’t afford enough dog food for their darling, hungry pups.
So, for at least five years, CHEER Meals on Wheels has delivered pet food to its elderly clients, thanks to grant money and other local donors.
Kenille’s Kupboard Pet Pantry & Rescue got involved for the first time this Christmas, hoping to keep giving on a monthly basis.
“We’re fortunate and really, really happy the pantry’s willing to help us out,” Walls said. “We’re very appreciative of the donation, and maybe over 150 pets received a Christmas bag of food due to them and Mispillion Kennel Club and our grant” from the Banfield Charitable Trust.
CHEER itself does not collect pet food, but it hands out any donations almost immediately, based on where volunteers see the need.
“It’s not going to take the place of them buying pet food,” Walls said, but it’s a burden lifted for another week.
Kenille’s Kupboard Pet Pantry & Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit helping all Eastern Shore counties to keep pets with their families. The mission is to provide food and resources to families who don’t want to surrender their pets to a shelter due to inability to pay for supplies.
Kenille’s will serve anyone who can visit the pet pantry in West Ocean City, Md. They also try to deliver goods or meet people when possible.
“We don’t turn anybody away. We’re lucky enough to have a little bit of excess right now,” thanks to House Pets, Millville Pet Stop, Ocean View Animal Hospital, Pottery Place, Fenwick Pet Stop and other donors.
Kenille’s is a volunteer-run program located in West Ocean City, behind Ocean City Animal Hospital on Route 50. Pet supplies can be donated onsite or at local drop-offs. Cash donations are tax deductible and can be sent online at www.justgive.org or by mail to KKPP&R; P.O. Box 598; Ocean City, MD 21843. Donors should note on their donation if it is specifically for the CHEER program.
For more information, call (302) 539-0595, email email@example.com or visit the Kenille’s Facebook page.
Meals On Wheels Delaware is a nonprofit that fundraises to support Delaware’s five boots-on-the-ground agencies providing Meals on Wheels, including CHEER.