Food delivery upgrade leaves seniors and their pets satisfied

By Anna Yee

February 6, 2013 Updated Feb 6, 2013 at 11:08 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Don Trainor usually packs up to 500 pounds of pet food once a month.

Now that number is doubling.

Trainor supervises Neighborhood House's free food delivery service in the Peoria area. Meals on Wheels started in the 70's for senior citizens. About five years ago, a new addition to the family was born, Critter Meals on Wheels, and has been growing ever since.

"Fifty-four dogs and 24 cats and one bird," said Trainor. "It's a real benefit for the seniors who receive the pet food who can't afford it. Their pet is like their best friend."

Take Mable French and her parakeets.

"I'm just lonesome without them," said French. "They're my company, my friends. I just couldn't do without them."

Without Neighborhood House, she'd have a hard time feeding her pets.

"Well, sometimes I run out and don't have enough money to get more seed," said French. "And that helps out."

It also helps out Dennis Scherer and his furry friend, Buddy.

"It'd be a little tough, because I'm on social security," said Scherer. "And nowadays, everything goes up. Everything's been going up."

Scherer also gets his meals delivered from Neighborhood House and admits giving up his own food for his pet.

"He likes people's food," said Scherer. (But, that's the food you need, so why are you sacrificing that?)

When asked why he would give up the food he needs for his pet, Scherer replied "Well, because he's my buddy, takes care of me."

Critter Meals on Wheels actually started when deliverers noticed pet owners who, like Scherer, cut their nutrition short to help feed their pets.

You could say generosity kicked started the program, and it's generosity that will keep it going.

"Just a lot of people with generous donations," said Trainor.

Starting this month, pet food will be inspected, packed, and delivered every other week, and Trainor says that should help keep these critters and their owners feeling satisfied.

For more information visit Neighborhood House's website: http://www.nhpeoria.org (click link above) or call them at (309) 674-1131.

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