Meals On Wheels South Florida has been serving meals to local South Florida seniors with their variety of programs. They also make sure the seniors furry companions are taken care as well
Established in 1999, the Meals For Companion Pets program was founded by Bob Mazal, a fellow Meals On Wheels volunteer who was told about a startling discovery at a seniors home.
"We found out that some of the clients were feeding their pets half of their Meals On Wheels food because they didn't have enough to purchase food for their animals. So, we decided to start the program, with donations. We had bags of food. Mix them together and then rebag them in zip-lock bags in order to give them a mixture. That way their diet would not change from month to month. To prevent any digestive problems," states Mazal
Mark Adler Executive Director of Meals On Wheels South Florida states there has been an increase of need for pet food especially during these difficult times.
"We've seen a large increase. I think that's a lot of Seniors who want to have a pet because they are living alone and more and more of our clients are living alone. So, we see them get more pets and the pets are like their four legged family members and they'd do anything for them. I'm really glad that we're able to help them out," said Adler.
One of Meal's On Wheels contributors for pet food is VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital.
"In 2012, our Hospital was 65 years old. And it's had a rich history of giving back to the community. And for 65 years we thought what more can we do? And at this time we had never heard of Meals on Wheels for Companion animals. And that's when the food drive started. It took off. It had a life of it's own. Over the years, we've partnered with other animal hospitals, VCA animal hospitals, non-VCA animal hospitals. to just raise food, awareness and funds for these homebound seniors and their pets," said Linda Ream, Communications Coordinator, VCA Hollywood Animal Hospital.
For Bob, starting the program brings him so much joy and continues to volunteer for the program.
Currently, due to COVID-19, the Meals For Companion Pets Program food distribution is being done by Chewy. But mark states as soon as this is all over, they will be back to distributing food for their furry friends.
If you want to know more information on the pet program you can call 954.714.6924 or info@mowsoflo.Org