Not content with just a holiday season effort, Asheville Area Professional Pet Sitters Association will continue to have barrels for pet food donations at Buncombe County libraries. As the barrels are filled, volunteers take the donations to Meals on Wheels (MoW) headquarters. From there, they are distributed to help their clients feed their pets.
Barrels for pet food donations will be available at the Weaverville, North Asheville, South Asheville, Leicester, Enka-Candler and Swananoa libraries.
Debbie Sprause, MoW Director of Development, said that the organization’s 300 volunteers regularly delivers meals to 500 seniors, who have about 120 pets, including dogs, cats, and birds. She said that the donations of food and other pet items are very helpful in keeping their program supplied. Meals on Wheels is not a government agency, and gets 85% of its funding from private donations. The other 15% comes from Federal government programs. “We really appreciate all the pet food donations and gifts,” she said.
A MoW client’s need for pet food assistance as well as his/her own meals is determined by a social worker case manager and the client during or after a home visit, Sprause explained. Then she added that most MoW clients have smaller living quarters. “So we especially appreciate donations of small kibble dog food,” she said. “Few of the seniors we serve have large dogs.”
“Moose” Penfold, Community Sales Manager at Emeritus, newly associated with the Brookdale family of senior living solutions, said that pets can be invaluable to seniors. “Pets provide friendship and companionship that help seniors stay engaged.” He also said he saw the power of pets first hand when he watched a senior who couldn’t normally move his arms move them to pet a visiting dog.
Jill Totman, Branch Supervisor at the Weaverville library, is a big supporter of the pet food donations and proud of how generous her library’s clients are. “People are really generous,” she said. “In December, we took about a hundred pounds of pet food and other pet items to Meals on Wheels.” Like Sprause, she pointed out the special need for small kibble dog food. She also asked PetGazette to remind donors to give unopened packages. “We have no way of knowing what has been put in opened packages, so we can’t pass them on,” she said.
The Petsitters Association started the food collection program as simply a holiday effort. In 2013, over three thousand pounds of pet food were collected and distributed to help area pets. Now all involved are hoping that Buncombe’s pet lovers continue that high level of generosity throughout the year.
PetGazette has joined the Petsitters in supporting the food collection effort. For further details about the program, call us here at 828 633-0629.