Arlington, VA – February 1, 2021 – PetSmart Charities®, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, announced it has granted an incremental $300,000 to Meals on Wheels America, the national leadership organization supporting community-based programs across the U.S. dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This funding builds upon PetSmart Charities’ record $3 million commitment to Meals on Wheels America in late 2019 to fund the work of a three-year partnership between the two organizations, and comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic, and an increasing number of natural disasters, continue to drive a rising demand for Meals on Wheels services for homebound senior clients and their loving pet companions.
“Not only do many seniors consider pets family members, we know many may be relying on their pets now more than ever for critical companionship while self-isolating at home during the pandemic,” said Aimee Gilbreath, President, PetSmart Charities. “We are proud to extend our initial commitment to Meals on Wheels America to help ensure seniors and their cherished animal companions can stay healthy and together through the toughest of times.”
Amid stay-at-home guidance and other health and safety measures in place to protect against COVID-19, millions of older adults are experiencing the impacts of loneliness and diminished social connection. While pet ownership is known to lower instances of illness and reported feelings of loneliness among older adults and is particularly crucial during this challenging time, many face difficulties with procuring groceries, like pet food and supplies, on their own. Through this grant from PetSmart Charities, Meals on Wheels America has already begun to offer grants to local Meals on Wheels programs working to meet an increased demand for their pet-related services and overcome infrastructure challenges in geographic areas that have been particularly affected by COVID-19 and recent natural disasters.
“As so many older adults became homebound practically overnight in the face of the pandemic, they also became shut off from critical social connections,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “Meals on Wheels programs have been working around the clock to serve an influx of seniors in need of support over the past ten months, which includes preserving the proven powerful relationships they have with their pets. This generous funding from PetSmart Charities makes that possible.”
PetSmart Charities’ recent grant will also support a pilot, exploratory effort that will enable both organizations to identify and test innovative methods of delivering pet programming to support more seniors and pets across the Meals on Wheels network.
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 nearly $430 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 17 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of charities rated by this organization. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.
Follow PetSmart Charities on Instagram: @PetSmartCharities
Follow PetSmart Charities on Twitter: @PetSmartChariTs
Find PetSmart Charities on Facebook: Facebook.com/PetSmartCharities
See PetSmart Charities on YouTube: YouTube.com/PetSmartCharitiesInc
Meals on Wheels America
Jenny Young, 571-339-1603
Yosha Brunson Kuhl, 623-587-2177