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Posted on: July 7, 2016

PASSAIC COUNTY RECEIVES $2,500 FROM MEALS ON WHEELS AMERICAN TO SUPPORT HOMEBOUND CLIENT PET PROGRAM

(Passaic County, July 7th, 2016) – The Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders are proud to announce that the Division of Nutrition Services has received a $2,500 grant from Meals On Wheels America to provide its client pet support program. Funding will be used to provide food, supplies and care for Meals on Wheels clients with pets – all of which can be financially and physically burdensome. By the same token, a report from 2014 shows that seniors with pets are 36% less likely to report loneliness and have 21% fewer doctor visits, providing emotional and physical benefits on top of the financial benefits.

“Division of Nutrition Services provides meals to the neediest; most frail and vulnerable seniors,” said Freeholder Director TJ Best. “Many of these seniors have household pets for companionship and because of living on a fixed income it can be difficult to provide their pets with food and supplies, especially if there is an unexpected expense elsewhere”

In total, Meals on Wheels American has granted $300,000 to 162 local Meals on Wheels programs through the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets initiative this year. Funding is made possible in part through a donation from Banfield Charitable Trust (BCT), who in October 2015, handed over all funding and grants administration responsibilities for their popular Pet Assistance Grant Program to Meals on Wheels America. To date, the grant program has distributed more than $2.1 million in funding and pet food donations to over 300 local Meals on Wheels programs across the nation. With these funds, the Passaic County Division of Nutrition Services Meals on Wheels Pet program provides approximately up to a 2 month supply of pet food, treats, litter and flea and tick prevention, to current Meals on Wheels recipients who have registered their pet with our program.

“The Meals on Wheels Loves Pets initiative is just another way that Meals on Wheels can deliver so much more than just a meal,” said Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander. “Through grant funding, educational opportunities and in-kind donations for our member programs we hope to grow current pet programs and help those looking to start new ones.”

The mission of the Passaic County Division of Senior Services is to provide nutritious meals and other supportive services, through the auspices of the Department of Senior Services, to assist both congregate and home delivered recipients in maintaining and/or improving their health status and independence. Meals on Wheels is available to homebound older adults who are unable to provide for their own nutritional needs due to acute/chronic illness. Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs.

(continued)

*Sources: Stanley, I.H., Conwell, Y., Bowen, C. & Van Orden, K.A. (2014). Pet Ownership may Attenuate Loneliness Among Older Adult Primary Care Patients Who Live Alone. Aging & Mental Health, 18(3), 394-399. http://doi.org/10. 1080/13607863.2013.837147; Siegel, J.M. (1990). Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly: The moderating role of pet ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 1081-1086.

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