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Pet food drive to benefit companions of homebound residents

UPDATED: Wed., May 24, 2017, 12:35 p.m.

Jack Haldaman, a disabled veteran, sits with one of his cats, Buster, in his home in Spokane Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Haldaman is a recipient of pet food collected by the Meals on Wheels program. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Jack Haldaman, a disabled veteran, sits with one of his cats, Buster, in his home in Spokane Tuesday, May 23, 2017. Haldaman is a recipient of pet food collected by the Meals on Wheels program. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Jack Haldaman is pretty much homebound because of his bad back.

Two of his most important friends are his two pet cats – Buster and Ceefor.

The Army veteran and retiree gets only $600 a month from Social Security, he said.

That doesn’t leave much for pet food.

But Haldaman has a lifeline for his kitties through the Meals on Wheels program, which brings Haldaman his own nutritious meals five days a week.

As a client with Meals on Wheels, Haldaman is eligible to get separate deliveries of pet food once every two weeks through the work of volunteers.

The 7-year-old program to distribute pet food will get a boost next month with a new pet food drive.

“They are a lot of help,” Haldaman said of the volunteers who collect and distribute the pet food.

“It’s either starve or get the help,” he said.

Retired veterinarian Linda Wood is leading the effort to gather more pet food and litter donations. She works as one of the volunteers who gets the pet supplies to the clients.

She said she would like to see the pet food drive get established as an annual event.

The pet food program is currently serving 250 residents with about 725 pounds every two weeks. Deliveries are on the first and third Saturdays each month.

“People will feed their own food to their pets if they don’t have pet food,” Wood said.

The amount of pet food the clients get depends on the number of pets, and, if they are dogs, the size of the animals.

The volunteers take larger bags of dog and cat food and litter and break them into smaller amounts in gallon-sized bags.

Wood already gets donations for several veterinary hospitals.

The public food drive will help supplement those donations.

Sue Lesher, a Realtor at Windermere North, said in a recent email that supplies are currently low.

“We need your help to keep these very important companions happy and healthy,” she said.

She said that donations can be dropped off on weekdays at Banfield Pet Hospital, 9950 N. Newport Highway; Mt. Spokane Veterinary Hospital, 17117 N. Newport Highway; and Wandermere Animal Hospital, 12519 N. Division St.

Meals on Wheels Spokane started in 1967 and is now celebrating its 50th birthday.

Wood is one of about a dozen volunteers making the pet food and litter deliveries.

“I always ask (clients), ‘Are you getting enough enough food for them?’ ”


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