Waco: Pet food drive aims to help elderly animal lovers avoid hunger

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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Meals on Wheels in Waco will run out of pet food Friday, according to agency officials.

(Photo by Rissa Shaw)

The last round of food will be used to help feed clients' pets through Feb. 28, they said.

"We can't forget their pets," said Michelle Ann, Vice President of Cribs for Canines and founding member of Heart of Texas Lost & Found Pets.

Several local organizations are teaming up to ensure the non-profit's elderly clients don't have to decide between feeding their pet and feeding themselves.

"What they're doing is they're feeding their pets their one hot meal a day, and a lot of these people are home-bound," said Michelle Ann. "If you don't eat and you have diabetes, you're going to run into blood sugar problems, hunger, you don't have food to take your medications with...we're helping humans get their nutrition by helping their pets."

Meals on Wheels in Waco provides about 750 clients in McLennan, Hill and Falls counties with one hot meal, five days a week; around 135 of those have pets, officials say.

In total, about 300 dogs and cats are provided supplemental food monthly, they said.

"The home-bound people don't see anyone but our delivery person on any day, so pets are part of their life," said Rachel Salazar, Director of Volunteers for Meals on Wheels Waco. "It keeps them from being lonely, it gives them comfort, it's just a very positive thing in their life."

The non-profit's dog and cat food supply has been suffering since its number one donor--a major retailer--pulled the plug last year.

As a result, local animal rescue groups came together for a dog food drive.

"We're really happy that Michelle Ann took it upon herself to challenge the community," said Salazar.

Donations can be dropped off through Thursday at Meals on Wheels headquarters, 501 W. Waco Dr., and the Hewitt Public Safety Facility, 100 Patriot Ct., which is open 24-hours a day.

"We want to collect as much as we can to take to them to restock their shelves," said Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin. "We want to make sure that they've got enough on-hand so these folks can feed their animals."

Any group or company wanting to become a regular donor or a drop-off location can call (254) 752-0316.

"It's an ongoing need, even if you're not able to help out this round, the need will always be there," said Salazar. "We need people to donate on a regular basis."

Salazar said dry food for small dogs is their biggest need, but they're not picky.