Since the 1970s, Meals on Wheels has been bringing food to the elderly, ill, and low-income people who aren’t able to provide meals for themselves. Animals weren’t often considered, but now they can have their meals delivered, too.
In Peoria, Illinois, Don Trainor supervises Neighborhood House’s free food delivery service. He has been packing up about 500 pounds of pet food a month, and now that number is doubling. The inception of Critter Meals on Wheels was started about five years ago, and has been steadily growing in popularity.
“Fifty-four dogs and 24 cats and one bird,” Trainor said. “It’s a real benefit for the seniors who receive the pet food who can’t afford it. Their pet is like their best friend.”
Mable French would be lost without her parakeets. She would struggle to feed them if it wasn’t for the kindness of Neighborhood House.
“I’m just lonesome without them. They’re my company, my friends,” French said. “Sometimes I run out and don’t have enough money to get more seed.”
The service also helps Dennis Scherer and his dog, Buddy.
“It’d be a little tough, because I’m on social security,” he said. “And nowadays, everything goes up. Everything’s been going up.”
Scherer often gives up his own food for Buddy.
“He likes people food,” Scherer said. When asked why he would give up the food he needs, he said, “Well, because he’s my buddy, takes care of me.”
(A real animal lover would never need to ask that question – we know that our pets are family members, and we care for them as much as we care for ourselves.)
Critter Meals on Wheels started because of people like Scherer; deliverers noticed that people would sacrifice their own intake to make sure their pets ate, too. Generosity is what started the program, and it relies on donations to continue.
Beginning this month, animal food will be inspected, packed and delivered biweekly. Trainor believes this will keep owners and their pets happy.
Neighborhood House can be reached at 309-674-1131 or by visiting: http://www.nhpeoria.org/