COA's Meals on Wheels program receives $1,500 from Meals on Wheels America to support clients and their pets

Funding helps keep St Johns County seniors and their pets together


The St. Johns County Council on Aging has received a $1,500 grant from Meals on Wheels America to support its client pet-support program. Funding will be used to provide food, supplies and care for area clients with pets.

According to Becky Yanni, the executive director of the St Johns County Council on Aging, pets can reduce stress, lower blood-pressure and increase healthy physical activity. Yanni also believes pets can become a member of the family capable of providing love and companionship.

In total, Meals on Wheels America has granted $300,000 to 193 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). To date, the grant program has distributed more than $2.4 million in funding and pet food donations.

“While the benefits of companionship are clear, taking care of a pet can be financially and physically challenging for seniors,” said Meals on Wheels America President and CEO Ellie Hollander. “ ‘Meals on Wheels Loves Pets’ helps local Meals on Wheels providers alleviate this hardship and at the same time reduce the negative effects of isolation.”

This donation will help the Council on Aging Meals on Wheels program continue to serve over 50 pets currently receiving food on a monthly basis. Combining this financial support with the donations received from area veterinary clinics, St. Johns Veterinary Hospital, MuraBella Animal Hospital and Bartram Trail Veterinary Hospital will enable the organization to provide a greater amount of food each month to existing clients. Additionally, donors will insure that the Council on Aging will provide pet food to any new Meals on Wheels clients.