SAINT AUGUSTINE – St. Johns County Council on Aging has received a $1,500 grant from Meals on Wheels America to support its client pet support program. Funding will be used to provide food, supplies and care for area clients with pets – all of which can be financially and physically burdensome.
Becky Yanni, Executive Director of the St. Johns County Council on Aging said “For home bound elders, pets can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase healthy physical activity. Most importantly, pets become a member of the family, providing love and companionship. We are so pleased to be able to offer assistance to our home bound elders to allow them to keep their “family” together.”
In total, Meals on Wheels America has granted $300,000 to 193 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). To date, the grant program has distributed more than $2.4 million in funding and pet food donations.
“While the benefits of companionship are clear, taking care of a pet can be financially and physically challenging for seniors,” said Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander. “Meals on Wheels Loves Pets” helps local Meals on Wheels providers alleviate this hardship and at the same time reduce the negative effects of isolation.”
This generous award will help Council on Aging Meals on Wheels program continue to serve over 50 pets currently receiving food on a monthly basis. Combining this financial support with the generous donations received from area veterinary clinics, St. Johns Veterinary Hospital, MuraBella Animal Hospital and Bartram Trail Veterinary Hospital will give us the ability to provide a greater amount of food each month to our existing clients as well as insure that we are able to provide pet food to any new Meals on Wheels clients..