Local Meals On Wheels Program Now Offering ‘Animeals’

Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches, which has been delivering nutritious meals to homebound seniors in the community for more than four years, is now providing free pet food to its clients with dogs or cats.

“Many of our homebound senior clients who live alone depend on their pets for companionship, but providing food and veterinary care while living on a limited income can be a challenge,” said Charlie Ring, executive director of Meals on Wheels of the Palm Beaches. “Through our new Animeals program, we’re able to help relieve some of the burden.”

The Animeals program has been financed initially through a $2,500 grant from the Banfield Charitable Trust. The program is seeking community support through contributions and pet food donations to keep it going strong after initial funding is used. Already, Lisa Gallea, owner of the West Palm Beach pet-supply store Furry Paws, has agreed to contribute to the Animeals program. “Meals on Wheels is about helping seniors stay in their home and live a high quality of life,” said Debbie Emerick, director of volunteer services, who learned about the Banfield grant while at a national Meals on Wheels conference.

For Meals on Wheels clients such as Darlene Conrad of Lake Worth, receiving free cat food and help with vet bills will make it easier for her to take care of Tiger, her 8-year-old Siamese.

Suffering from injuries she received in a car accident, Conrad struggled with Tiger’s food bills and couldn’t take him to the vet. Now, with the help of Meals on Wheels, Tiger gets better food and will be going to the vet.

Meals on Wheels is also helping client Mary St. Clair take care of Thai, a kitten she found outside her Lake Worth home. Like Conrad, St. Clair says she would struggle to pay for Thai’s food were it not for Meals on Wheels.

To learn more about the Animeals program and how you can contribute, visit www.mowpb.org or call (561) 802-6979.

ABOVE: Mary St. Clair with her kitten, Thai.