CHEER was the recipient of a $1,200 grant this May to expand its Paw Prints Making a Difference program through a generous donation from the Banfield Charitable Trust. These funds enabled members to meet the needs of 267 seniors and their furry companions in 2013.
CHEER held the first Paw Prints event on Make a Difference Day in 2008. In addition to funds raised through participant entrance fees, CHEER solicited product donations from pet food companies and program support from local pet-related businesses and clubs.
As a result, CHEER was able to provide pet food twice annually to Meals on Wheels clients. CHEER also gained the continuing support of Hills Science Diet and the local Mispillion Kennel Club This year, CHEER adds the support of Savannah Animal Hospital in Lewes and Millville Pet Stop.
CHEER became aware of the need to add pet food to the delivery for Meals on Wheels clients through its network of volunteers, who would notice the meal container from the previous day on the floor of the senior’s home where the meal for the client had been shared with the beloved pet. The volunteer then reports to the center director, who contacts the outreach worker, a nurse in the Home Services program, who responds to the senior.
Rather than have the client sacrifice needed nutrition and daily calories, CHEER began adding pet food deliveries on an emergency basis when funds were available. Eligibility is determined by participation in the Meals on Wheels program, quarterly visits by the outreach worker, volunteers’ daily observations, and financial need.
CHEER's goal is to meet the needs of 200 pets by providing pet food assistance four times a year. With additional funding, CHEER was able to meet this goal and actually exceeded it in 2013.
The organization’s mission is to keep seniors healthy and in their homes for as long as possible. Maintaining a high quality of life is important for seniors' health, and pets offer fantastic emotional contact and companionship for homebound seniors.