Recently, I was looking through a copy of Ladies Home Journal and came across an article describing the plight of senior citizens in the USA who go hungry because they are sharing what little food they do have with their pets. The article explained that when Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA; an organization that delivers daily meals to hungry senior citizens) workers noticed that the empty plates being returned from seniors were being licked clean, they decided to create a program for the hungry pets too.
MOWAA initially began collecting damaged or outdated bags of petfood from area animal shelters, but the more than 1,000 pounds they distributed monthly didn't even begin to cover the needs of so many hungry pets.
According to the article I read, the Sacramento, California, USA area MOW program manager received a call from Royal Canin, which offered to donate 65,000 pounds of food enough to meet MOW's needs for a year, not only in Sacramento, but in several neighboring counties as well. After reading this heart-breaking story, it occurred to me that there must be other petfood manufacturers who would be interested in donating food, money, supplies, etc. to such a worthwhile program.
Across the US, it is estimated that 20% of MOW's 4,500 branches now run similar petfood programs. The article quoted Enid Borden, the organizations' CEO, as saying: "Someday we'd like all of our programs to be able to do this. It's our job to provide nourishment to the household, and pets are often part of that."
A new initiative from MOW called "We All Love Our Pets "(WALOP) unites and educates the Meals On Wheels programs across the country that are planning petfood programs for senior clients. While many MOW programs have their own petfood services, this is the first initiative of its kind on a national level.
The goal of the WALOP program is to provide support and materials to those Meals On Wheels programs nationwide that support the needs of their clients and their pets by providing supplemental petfood. Part of this support is a scholarship program, which will distribute funds to Meals On Wheels programs that wish to start or improve a petfood delivery program.
If your company would like to donate to this fund, WALOP should be designated on your donation form. If you are sending a donation via check, please indicate WALOP on your check. For more information on donating to the MOW program, go to www.mowaa.org and click on the "How to Donate "area at the top of the website, or contact the Meals On Wheels Association of America, 203 S. Union Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314 USA, Tel: +1.703.548.5558, Fax: +1.703.548.8024.
By Lindsay Beaton
As work continues on creating a new nutrition label that focuses on simplifying information for consumers, challenges remain.
By Tang Yu