Grant Expands Capacity to Serve Homebound Seniors and Their Pets

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CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions is a recipient of a 2022 Discovery Grant from Meals on Wheels America, made possible by PetSmart Charities, in the amount of $20,000.

The Discovery Grant will allow CICOA’s new Pet Connect program to move beyond its initial pilot phase to serve an expanded client base. It also will help CICOA develop needed infrastructure and build capacity to serve more low-income homebound seniors and their beloved pets.

Seniors on fixed incomes can struggle to afford nutritious meals for themselves, which means they also struggle to feed their pets. The benefit of this grant to CICOA’s clients is clear: Low-income, homebound seniors no longer must choose between feeding themselves or their pets.

“We are grateful for this grant funding that helps keep our senior neighbors and their pets healthy and home together,” said Chelsea Neulieb, director of CICOA’s Meals & More service.

Discovery Grant funding will be used for pet food and supplies; developing partnerships with local veterinary officers, veterinary schools and local pet supply stores; and staffing to support this program.

“Thank you for participating in the 2022 Meals on Wheels Loves Pets Grant Program and for your continued commitment to the seniors you serve and their animal companions,” said Erika Kelly, chief membership and advocacy officer, Meals on Wheels America. “Investing in sustainable pet programs like (CICOA’s) is a strategic priority in our efforts to combat social isolation.”

Pets help CICOA clients through rough times, relieve stress and alleviate loneliness. Many research studies have shown how valuable a pet can be for a senior’s wellbeing and quality of life. That’s been true especially during the pandemic when older adults have felt more isolated than ever. CICOA’s Pet Connect service ensures clients can care for their pets without sacrificing their own nutritional needs.

Related: Seniors No Longer Have to Decide Between Feeding Themselves and Their Pets


Your gift of pet food and supplies saves seniors from having to make the heartbreaking decision between feeding themselves or their furry friend.


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