The fluffy, four-legged companions of Joshua residents served by Meals-on-Wheels have something to bark, or meow, about with the launch of AniMeals-on-Wheels.
On Nov. 4, Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties launched the program in Joshua for the first time, which delivers dog and cat food to clients with animals.
“A dog or cat is more than a pet; it can provide friendship, joy and a reason for living,” said Lisa Deese, with Meals-on-Wheels. “Studies show that animal ownership also lowers illness levels and mortality rates. Most lack the resources to maintain companion pets, which may be their only 'family' member, and keep them healthy.”
“We're excited to be about to expand this service to the community,” said Whitney Patterson, director of development for Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties. “We noticed that some of our clients were sharing part of their meals with their pets, so we know that this is a real need for clients with companion animals.”
The idea for AniMeals came from other Meals-on-Wheels programs. It was first launched as part of the Johnson and Ellis counties branch in Burleson in 2009 and has continued to expand year after year. Joshua makes the eighth community served by the program, Patterson said.
All pet food is donated and delivered by volunteers once per month. Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties has partnered with Joshua Animal Control, which stores the food and helps to assist with pet food donations, and Joshua Self Storage Solutions, whose employees volunteer to deliver food on the first Monday of every month.
“It went wonderfully,” said Joseph Sidawi, manager at Joshua Self Storage Solutions. “We've been involved with Meals-on-Wheels for about a year now, and we believe in their program. We're all animal lovers here, and we've met people and their animals through deliveries before. It was really nice to be able to help the whole family.”
“It's been a really great partnership,” Deese said.
After seeing the need for providing animal food to clients, the program was launched gradually to make sure it was firmly in place, and they plan to make it a permanent service of the Meals-on-Wheels program, Patterson said.
“AniMeals is just one of the special services provided by Meals-on-Wheels of Johnson and Ellis Counties to homebound seniors and disabled people in local communities,” Deese said.
They offer home-delivered meals, hot noon-time breakfasts and lunches, caregiver services and information and assistance to those who are unable to prepare meals for themselves.
Meals-on-Wheels is a non-profit organization, and they take referrals from anyone who knows someone who might need service – neighbors, friends, family, churches, doctor's offices, hospitals and more. Once someone refers a client, case managers are assigned and perform an in-home assessment to see if there is a need. It's very individualized and goes on a case-by-case basis, Patterson said.
Meals-on-Wheels is a community benefit organization serving the residents of Johnson and Ellis Counties. If you are interested in volunteering, donating or if you know of someone who could benefit from Meals-on-Wheels services, please contact the Meals-on-Wheels offices at 817-558-2840, or visit www.servingthechildrenofyesterday.org or www.facebook.com/MOWJEC.