Citymeals-on-Wheels and PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) NY have announced a new partnership to provide the homebound elderly with much-needed pet care assistance. The partnership will help Citymeals recipients by providing pet care products and trained volunteers who will help with daily tasks like walking, feeding and grooming. Marcia Stein, executive director of Citymeals-on-Wheels, said, “So many of our homebound neighbors are all alone in the world but for the companionship of a pet who provides unconditional love. In fact, a survey done by Citymeals showed 73% of our meal recipients live alone – often their only human contact is their meal deliverer. We have found many Citymeals’ recipients struggle just to care for themselves. Walking a dog, feeding a cat, cleaning a bird cage are difficult, and sometimes expensive tasks for them. This new initiative with PAWS NY will make sure the loving partnership between our meal recipients and their pets remains intact.”
Citymeals-on-Wheels will provide volunteers to match with the homebound elderly. PAWS NY, in turn, will then provide these volunteers with pet-care training. PAWS NY, which relies on donations, is establishing a pet pantry in cooperation with Citymeals to provide pet food and supplies to seniors who are struggling to feed and care for their pets. Citymeals/PAWS NY volunteers will be able to provide services such as dog walking, cat litter maintenance, and pet feeding. The partnership will initially focus on serving homebound elderly on New York’s Lower East Side, an area with a large population of low-income, immigrant, and elderly residents. Rachel Herman, President of PAWS NY said, “The relationship between pets and their owners is one of great joy—especially for someone who is older and may not have the same kind of social life they once had. Our work will allow this important relationship to continue while ensuring these pets are well cared for.” PAWS NY, a grassroots organization established in New York City in 2008, has been training volunteers to provide one-on-one pet care assistance to needy individuals, including senior citizens. By offering these services, vulnerable pet owners are able to keep their pets and continue to experience the proven physical and psychological benefits of animal companionship while the number of pets surrendered to already overcrowded New York City animal shelters is reduced. For full press release, please click here.