Local vets help Meals on Wheels

Jan. 05, 2014 @ 05:02 PM

Meals on Wheels of Durham received some much needed help when two local veterinary hospitals decided to lend helping hands.
Sister clinics Falconbridge Animal Hospital in Durham and Village Veterinary Hospital in Chapel Hill raised more than $1,500 to help Meals on Wheels of Durham feed the pets of its clients.
Angela Calice, a registered veterinary technician at Falconbridge, said that she read about groups donating pet food to Meals on Wheels out west and wanted to implement it here.
“We’re able to help not only the pets but the people, the elderly who can’t get out of their homes,” Calice said. “Everybody seems really excited about it.”
Meals on Wheels of Durham Executive Director Gale Adland said that it was the volunteer drivers who informed the agency of the need for pet food for clients.
“Our drivers would come back and tell us that the clients were sharing their food with their pets,” she explained. “It’s been a huge difference. First of all, the people who were sharing their food aren’t doing it any more and there’s a peace of mind for the clients.”
Adland said that 24 drivers deliver meals daily with a volunteer pool of about 100 people. The drivers deliver the small bags of dog or cat food to the clients they know need help.
Calice explained that Falconbridge uses its fall raffle for the pet food donations, giving away prizes like a two night spa getaway for pets, $200 off of a dental visit and free grooming.
Over the past three years, Calice and Falconbridge office manager Ellen Vogel estimate about 2,000 bags of dog and cat food have been donated to Meals on Wheels.
Iams gives a discount on the pet food the two hospitals purchase and UPS donates the delivery to Meals on Wheels, Vogel said in a news release. The money raised in 2013 purchased more than 380 bags of food.
Falconbridge and Village Veterinary raise money for pet food once a year but Durham Meals on Wheels accepts pet food donations all year long.
Adland was more than happy to get the additional assistance.
“The donation that Falconbridge and Village Veterinary gave was phenomenal,” she said. “They are clearly excited about the donations.”
Adland said that last year’s donation of 103 bags of cat food and 50 bags of dog food lasted about six months before it had to be replenished.
“Pets are very important to people who are homebound,” she said. “If you’re at home alone, elderly and don’t have friends or family in the area and your pets are important to you, it’s important to us to feed them.”
Adland and Calice said that they both have had nothing but positive feedback.
“Plus it makes the volunteers feel good as well to be able to provide this for the clients,” Adland said.
Throughout the year pet food donations are made to Meals on Wheels of Durham by various groups including North Durham Curves and individuals. Calice added that Falconbridge takes pet food donations throughout the year as well.

Pet food donations can be made directly to Meals on Wheels of Durham at 2522 Ross Road. Adland said that there are more cats than dogs and asks that only small, 4-5 lbs. bags of food be donated, so the clients can manage them.