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West Valley City Journal

Meals on Wheels donates food to needy pets

Dec 08, 2016 03:12PM ● By Huy Tran

PetsPlus bins allow people to donate dry bags of cat or dog food for animals in need. (Huy Tran/City Journals)

By Huy Tran | [email protected]

PetsPlus Meals on Wheels Program is making it easier for people to donate food to those usually seated under the table, not at it. 

The program has set up bins at the Hunter Library and other county libraries for the donations of new, unopened bags of dry dog and cat food this holiday season. The food drive helps seniors on limited incomes who benefit from the Meals on Wheels service, but may also have a furry loved one who also needs to be fed. 

Meals on Wheels America is a nonprofit which focuses on delivering nutritious midday meals to homebound seniors. Local programs such as PetsPlus provide additional services that further improve the quality of life for seniors. PetsPlus is collecting food from Nov. 7 to Dec. 2.

“It’s through the (Salt Lake County) Aging Services, and all you have to do is bring in bags of food for animals,” said Sharon Peters, librarian at Hunter Library. “I have a pet of my own and I think it’s a great idea.”

Pet food is not the only thing local libraries have been donating. The library organizes benefits for different causes each month and those who visit can donate a variety of items that may be of help to those in need.

“We did diapers last month. I think [the library] is a good place to collect a lot of things people need, because people who come here are aware of other people’s needs and have a lot of empathy for people that might be in trouble,” said Peters. “The library caters to a wide variety of clientele.”

The Hunter Library organizes food drives throughout the year, helping various individuals get the food in times of need. However, PetsPlus is unique in that it recognizes that pets are important members of many families, and for those on fixed incomes, feeding them can be expensive.

Many locals value community service and put emphasis on being able to contribute to organizations they care about.

As local Emily Seang said, “It’s not a bad idea, because people care for their pets like family. It would definitely be upsetting if they couldn’t be fed. Programs to defeat hunger, whether it’s for the homeless, families or pets are always needed.”

Seang has been involved in community service ever since she was little and often attends the Hunter Library.

“I helped coordinate a Halloween party recently for refugee families. It was really cool to be able to spend time with them. It was worth it, especially when you know those families have a hard time integrating with their community,” said Seang. “Service gives you that sense of responsibility. It shows that you care about not only the community, but people you know. Although it may sound cliché, it makes the world a better place.”

In the spirit of the holiday season, programs such as PetsPlus are encouraging locals to pay it forward and help those who may not be able to help themselves. Peters believes service is something that should always be encouraged.

“It’s always important to give. I don’t believe we should just do it at Christmas and Thanksgiving. We should do it all year round,” said Peters.