CHEER grant to help feed pets via Meals on Wheels effort

CHEER Inc. this week announced that it has received a grant for $2,500 from Meals on Wheels’ pet initiative, Meals on Wheels (MOW) Loves Pets.

“This initiative is just another way that Meals on Wheels can deliver so much more than just a meal. Through grant funding, educational opportunities and in-kind donations for its members, MOW hopes to grow current pet programs across America to support its pet food program.”

The program provides donated dog and cat food to seniors and homebound individuals who are unable to care for their pets on their own.

Since 2006, Paw Prints Making A Difference has been an ongoing project of CHEER, to feed the pets of CHEER clients in Sussex County. Funded primarily through product donations, the Meals on Wheels Pet grant and CHEER’s annual fall Pet Parade, Paw Prints provides pet food for nearly 200 animals — primarily dogs and cats — living with their elderly owners.

CHEER serves thousands of meals each year to seniors living throughout the county, with each meal delivered daily by hundreds of local volunteers. Organizers noted that seniors with pets are 36 percent less likely to report loneliness and make 21 percent fewer doctor visits, compared to non-pet owners.

CHEER became aware of the need to add pet food to the delivery for Meals on Wheels clients through its network of volunteers, they said, as volunteers would notice the meal container from the previous day on the floor of the senior’s home, where the meal for the client had been shared with the beloved pet.

In total, Meals on Wheels America has granted more than $100,000 this year to more than 40 local Meals on Wheels programs through the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets initiative. Funding is made possible in part through a donation from the former Banfield Charitable Trust. To date, the grant program has distributed more than $2.5 million in funding and pet food donations.

CHEER’s annual Fall Pet Parade is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19, at the CHEER Community Center east of Georgetown. For more information about the Pet Parade or Meals on Wheels, call (302) 515-3040 or go to