Leave it to the power of social media to help turn the tide as the pets of 600 Houston-area homebound senior citizens were in danger of going without food this holiday season.
Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston, which oversees both Meal on Wheels, a program that delivers more than one million meals each year to 4,000 seniors in Harris County, and aniMeals, which provides the pets of these senior citizens with 8,000 pounds of pet food per month, made a public plea for help this week as the organization nearly ran out of pet food for its 1,100 four-legged friends.
“This (situation) snuck up on us because we’re doing so many other drives for our seniors. We looked at the shelves and realized how really, really low we were on food," Hannah Weier, manager of volunteer of services for aniMeals, told CultureMap.
Fortunately, the giving spirit prevails.
Donations quickly began coming in the door, hand-delivered by locals and shipped via by supporters from around the globe, some as far as London, who were taking advantage of Amazon Prime's free shipping.
“Donations equal 2,000-3,000 pounds so far. We didn’t expect it to take off like this. It’s amazing,” said Weier. “We are so thankful people are remembering our seniors and pets.“
All of the elderly enrolled with Interfaith Ministries are age 60 years and older and disabled. They're also often isolated without anyone to help but the nonprofit. Research shows that pets can make a difference in the health and happiness of a senior, making life a little brighter.
While donations are particularly needed right now to make sure the animals have food to eat, the demand is constant. Interfaith Ministries is able to afford supplemental pet food supplies only, meaning owners often run out before the end of each month. Most will share their own limited food and resources with their beloved pets, which isn't healthy for either party.
“Every little bit counts as we try to get to 8,000 pounds every month,” Weier said.
You, too, can help by dropping off dog and cat food at the Interfaith Ministries’ Meals on Wheels building in Midtown weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm all year 'round.