To further explore isolation, loneliness and the role pets play in providing comfort and companionship to Meals on Wheels clients, Meals on Wheels America embarked on a research project from July 2020 through January 2021 – during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this research project, Meals on Wheels America aimed to better understand the specific needs, challenges and opportunities available to clients and the Meals on Wheels network in addressing gaps in pet care.
This project presented a unique opportunity to bridge the gap between social services and animal welfare. The purpose of this research included the following:
- Analyze Meals on Wheels client perceptions of pet companionship;
- Analyze the extent to which pet support programs empower socialization and reduce social isolation; and
- Offer a profile of Meals on Wheels pet-owning clients.
The subsequent report – Meals on Wheels Pet Programming and Client Needs Assessment – examines results from a telephone survey conducted of Meals on Wheels clients with pets, providing new insight into the pet program needs among Meals on Wheels programs that are members of Meals on Wheels America. Note that only clients with pets were included in this study, so a comparative population of clients without pets is not available in this dataset.
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Meals on Wheels America and PetSmart Charities also released this research through a national campaign. Any funds raised through this campaign will support our national programs providing so much more than just a meal, such as the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets grant program.
This report is intended to be disseminated freely. In reproducing any excerpts of this report, please provide a credit. Sample credit: “Meals on Wheels Pet Programming and Client Needs Assessment was produced by Meals on Wheels America and prepared by Adisa, with funding from PetSmart Charities.”