New Meals on Wheels program rolls out – for pets

New grant allows Senior Services North Fulton to launch new service

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NORTH FULTON, Ga. – When people hear “Meals on Wheels,” they immediately think of Senior Services North Fulton’s volunteer program that provides meals to assist older residents who are too infirm to shop for themselves or also may need the financial assistance.

But what about their pets? Studies show older adults with pets remain more active and live longer when they have a pet.

Through the years, Senior Services North Fulton has developed programs and services to meet the needs of older adults living in North Fulton including Meals on Wheels.

Now, SSNF has a new service for clients – the opportunity to receive assistance with pet food through SSNF’s new Meals on Wheels for Pets program.

With the help of special a grant from the Banfield Charitable Trust and volunteers from the North Fulton chapter of the National Charity League, Senior Services North Fulton has been able to add a much-appreciated addition to the traditional Meals on Wheels program by adding monthly pet food runs.

“Some of our clients, both homebound older adults and senior center participants, have requested assistance with purchasing pet food,” said Carrie Bellware, executive director, Senior Services North Fulton. “The cost is more than they can afford on limited incomes, and many cannot get to the store to purchase the food. Unfortunately, some older adults have to give up their beloved pets to relatives or shelters.”

With the grant of $2,500 from the Banfield Charitable Trust that Senior Services North Fulton recently received, it has been able to launch the new program. Clients will be able to provide their pets with the food they are accustomed to eating because SSNF can purchase food specifically for the pet and deliver it to clients’ homes.

Volunteers will lead and manage the Meals on Wheels for Pets program. Without volunteer involvement, SSNF would not be able to offer clients Meals on Wheels, and likewise the service for pets would not be possible, said Volunteer Program Manager Deena Takata.

Susan Masters, a mother in the National Charity League with her daughters Peyton and Taylor, said this is one of the more rewarding public service projects in which they are involved.

“It is sad to see seniors who have had to surrender their pets to places like the Forsyth Humane Society because they have become too infirm shop or simply can’t afford to keep their pets any longer,” Masters said. “For many, their pets are the only constant social connection they have on a daily basis.”

She said the Charity League’s mission is to foster mother-daughter relationships through commitments to community service, leadership development and cultural experiences.

Other local Charity League involvement includes the Autrey Mill Nature Preserve, the Humane Society of North Forsyth, the Roswell Child Development Association, the Drake House and North Fulton Community Charities Food Pantry, among many others.

Donations to the Meals on Wheels for Pets program can be mailed to Senior Services North Fulton, 3060 Royal Boulevard South, Suite 130, Alpharetta, Ga. 30022 or made online at www.ssnorthfulton.org.