FUNDING WILL ASSIST LOCAL PROGRAMS' EFFORTS TO MAKE VETERINARY CARE MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR HOMEBOUND CLIENTS
Arlington, VA – August 23, 2022 – Meals on Wheels America, the national leadership organization supporting community-based programs across the U.S. dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger, announced it has distributed $509,000 in grants to more than 60 local Meals on Wheels programs in 2022 to support expanded access to veterinary care for the pets of senior clients.
The funds distributed through the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets grant program – powered by PetSmart Charities®, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America – will be used to support programs’ abilities to provide older adults’ animal companions with improved and more accessible preventative, sick and emergency care. Pets have been shown to serve as a source of valuable social connection for many older adults, positively impacting their physical and mental health and decreasing feelings of loneliness. While veterinary care is particularly essential to support pets’ health and longevity, it can often present challenges for older adults with limited mobility or financial constraints to manage on their own.
A 2021 study released by Meals on Wheels America and PetSmart Charities identified the primary needs of homebound seniors and their pets and found that nearly one in two clients reported being unable to access preventative veterinary care in the past two years. 86% of the respondents said that cost was the biggest barrier to receiving such veterinary care, with transportation cited as a secondary barrier. Such findings prompted the two organizations to design grants that could help address these challenges and make vet care more accessible.
“We know that the human-animal bond is powerful for keeping older adults happier and healthier, and we want to do all we can to remove hurdles that might get in the way of seniors and their pets aging at home together,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. “Through the continued support from our trusted partner, PetSmart Charities, we’re able to help expand access to vital veterinary care for Meals on Wheels clients and ensure that older adults can more easily secure the exams, vaccinations, dental care and other critical services their animal companions need.”
“Veterinary Care access is a challenge for over 25 percent of pet households in the United States, disproportionately impacting vulnerable groups like seniors who rely on their pets the most,” said Aimee Gilbreath, President of PetSmart Charities. “Through the incredible partnership with Meals on Wheels America, we are able to ensure that thousands of seniors can continue living healthy, happy lives with their furry companions.”
In addition to the grants designed to improve and expand access to veterinary care, the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets grant program will also distribute an additional $591,000 across two other grant types for a total of $1,100,000 to be awarded by the end of 2022. Each of these grant opportunities is designed to bolster the development, growth and sustainability of local programs’ pet assistance services in underserved areas and/or increase scalability and expand access to care.
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 is committed to making the world a better place for pets and all who love them. Through its in-store adoption program in all PetSmart® stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, PetSmart Charities helps up to 600,000 pets connect with loving families each year. PetSmart Charities also provides grant funding to support organizations that advocate and care for the well-being of all pets and their families. Our grants and efforts connect pets with loving homes through adoption, improve access to affordable veterinary care and support families in times of crisis with access to food, shelter and emergency relief. Each year, millions of generous supporters help pets in need by donating to PetSmart Charities directly at PetSmartCharities.org, while shopping at PetSmart.com, and by 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 more than $500 million since its inception in 1994. Independent from PetSmart LLC, PetSmart Charities is a 501(c)(3) organization that has received the Four-Star Rating from Charity Navigator for the past 18 years in a row – placing it among the top one percent of rated charities. To learn more visit www.petsmartcharities.org.
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