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Meals on Wheels Atlanta starts pet pantry to feed dogs, cats of seniors

The nonprofit found some of their clients were giving meals to pets because they could not afford to feed them

ATLANTA — For some senior citizens in Atlanta, the only meal they eat each day is delivered by Meals on Wheels.

But the nonprofit found that some of their clients were giving those meals to their pets because they couldn't afford to feed them. So they wanted to help. 

K9Kait, our digital hub for all things animal news, reports that the organization started a pet pantry that helps make sure the animals and the senior citizens are fed. 

When the Meals on Wheels volunteers knock on the seniors doors in Atlanta, it might be the only human interaction they get all day. 

But their pets are always with them. 

Too often, the volunteers found the seniors were going hungry to make sure their pets could eat -- Meals on Wheels wanted to make sure they both got fed. 

"Ivy" is Allyson Day's best friend. 

"I laugh more. I get out of my chair more. She just puts a string of lights around my heart," Day said. 

She adopted Ivy because she was lonely. 

But Ivy needed help, too. 

"When I got her she was only 6-pounds, and she's a 3-year-old cat. So whoever had her couldn't afford to feed her and that's why they turned her in to the Atlanta Humane Society," she said. 

Day's on a fixed income, and can't always afford to feed Ivy either. 

But she would rather go hungry and feed Ivy her food than have her cat suffer. 

"It's real important. In the past I've had a hard time feeding my pets," she said.

The same is true right down the road, where volunteer Larry Auberbach delivers food to Jeffery Jones, and his dog, Grizzly. 

"Him and Grizzly have their own special relationship, they love each other," Jones said.

Larry loved Grizzly before Meals on Wheels Atlanta started their pet pantry. He saw how special Grizzly was to their whole family. 

"When your kids get older, your pet not always be excited to see you - but your dog is always excited to see you! They provide an unquestioning love and attention and companionship," Auerbach said. 

"Sometimes family is not around, but when you come home, your pet is always there and it is their family," said Meals on Wheels Senior Director of Development Elisha Silvera. 

Meals on Wheels Atlanta wanted to honor that relationship, so they started taking donations for pet food and toys, beds the animals can sleep in. 

They wanted the seniors to know they love their whole family. 

"She's my heart. And she's my companion. And she makes me laugh all the time," Day said. 

This is brand new - Meals on Wheels Atlanta just started the program this week - so they're looking for donations and volunteers. If you want to get involved, you can donate food or money.

To drop off pet food, bring it to: 1705 Commerce Dr. NW, Atlanta, 30318

Or visit Meals on Wheels to donate money. You can also text BREAD to 44321.


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