Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County Receives $2,500 grant for Pet Program



Much-Needed Funding Helps Keep Lehigh County Seniors and Their Pets Together 

[Allentown, PA], June 27 2016 – Knowing that seniors with pets are 36% less likely to report loneliness and have 21% fewer doctor visits*, Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County is proud to announce that it has received a $2,500 grant from Meals on Wheels America to support its client pet support program. Funding will be used to provide food, supplies and care for Lehigh County clients with pets – all of which can be financially and physically burdensome.

“Our clients’ pets are important members of our clients’ families,” said Michele Grasso, Development Director. “A number of years ago, we learned that clients were giving part of their meals to their pets.  Because we want our clients to be well nourished so they may continue to live in their own homes, we instituted a program to help with pet food and other needs for our clients’ pets.  We know how important pets are to our clients’ well being and want to do all we could to keep them together.”

In total, Meals on Wheels America has granted $300,000 to 162 local Meals on Wheels programs through the Meals on Wheels Loves Pets initiative this year. Funding is made possible in part through a donation from Banfield Charitable Trust (BCT), who in October of 2015, handed over all funding and grants administration responsibilities for their popular Pet Assistance Grant Program to Meals on Wheels America. To date, the grant program has distributed more than $2.1 million in funding and pet food donations to over 300 local Meals on Wheels programs across the nation.

“The Meals on Wheels Loves Pets initiative is just another way that Meals on Wheels can deliver so much more than just a meal,” said Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander. “Through grant funding, educational opportunities and in-kind donations for our member programs, we hope to grow current pet programs and help those looking to start new ones.”


About Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County

Each weekday, Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County, a nonprofit agency, serves 450 homebound seniors and adults with disabilities living throughout Lehigh County. 912 individual and group volunteers deliver about 168,000 meals each year; almost seven million since 1971.  Volunteers also provide a social connection and a well-being check.  The Agency also offers grocery shopping services to more than 100 clients. For more information, visit 

About Meals on Wheels America

Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit

*Sources: Stanley, I. H., Conwell, Y., Bowen, C., & Van Orden, K. A. (2014). Pet Ownership may Attenuate Loneliness Among Older Adult Primary Care Patients Who Live Alone. Aging & Mental Health, 18(3), 394–399.; Siegel, J.M. (1990). Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly: The moderating role of pet ownership. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 58, 1081-1086.



Information Provided By:

Michele Grasso, MPA

Development Director

Meals on Wheels of Lehigh County

4234 Dorney Park Rd.

Allentown, PA  18104