Animal companions of area seniors are filling up their tummies with goodies provided through grant monies in Ottawa County.
Senior Resources recently finished its first round of pet food distribution for this year, said Diane Mortensen, executive coordinator for Senior Resources located in Oak Harbor. A $1,500 pet food grant secured from Banfield Charitable Trust funds the project. This is the fourth year the county has received such a grant.
Senior Resources provides dinners to area seniors via its Meals on Wheels program. Over the years, drivers talking to residents found the seniors weren’t eating all their food in order to feed their pets.
That’s when Mortensen decided to look for some way to help the elderly companions.
“We are seeing more and more need among these individuals,” Mortensen said. “For a lot of seniors that are homebound, their pets are their life.”
The amount of the grants has increased over the years. The first sum was about $500.
Senior Resources staff talked to seniors regarding pet needs as they served their 180 to 200 daily meals from one end of the county to the other. Then staff put together a shopping list and headed to Community Market in Port Clinton to stock up.
The grant money pays for meal packages for mostly cats and dogs as well as for bags of biscuits loaded onto the meal delivery trucks for drivers to hand out.
“Keeping the pets happy really helps with meal delivery. Some of these pets can be really protective,” Mortensen noted.
The grant funds must be used by May 31, 2014. Mortensen said there will be another pet food delivery in the first half of 2014.
Only grant money is used for the pet meals, Mortensen emphasized. Early on, there had been confusion that money from the Senior Resources levy was used to cover the costs. “No Senior Resources money whatsoever is used for this program,” Mortensen said.