HALLOWELL – A meals on wheels program for pets got a boost this week.

The Banfield Charitable Trust gave $5,000 to the AniMeals program at Spectrum Generations Cohen Center in Hallowell and its Muskie Center in Waterville.

Lynda Johnson, nutrition/meals on wheels coordinator for Spectrum Generations, said the grant will be used to buy pet food or cover direct expenses for Spectrum Generations pet food distribution efforts.

“With this grant and support from area businesses such as Tractor Supply Co. and Pine Tree Veterinary of Augusta, homebound seniors receiving AniMeals are less likely to lose their pet due to the rising cost of food,” Johnson said.

The program has provided food for pets of homebound seniors who receive Meals on Wheels for the past eight years. The program depends on contributed pet food and money from local businesses and individuals.

Spectrum recently earned an achievement award from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging for developing the program for pets.

Johnson said seniors sometimes choose to go hungry rather than give up their pets.

Joan Gilbert of Augusta, who has delivered Meals on Wheels for six years, said pets are “part of your family,” which makes the program a worthwhile one.

The National Center for Infectious Diseases says owning a pet helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, while alleviating feelings of loneliness and opening up opportunities for the owner to socialize with others.

The Cohen Center helps feed about 40 pets. The food supplements that bought by pet owners. Pet food deliveries are made once a week.

For more information on the AniMeals program or to donate, call 626-7777 or email [email protected]

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Mechele Cooper can be contacted at 621-5663 or at:

[email protected]