COVID-19 has led to an increased need for meal delivery services for seniors across the region. But a local nonprofit has been working to make sure their pets are taken care of as well.
Somerton resident Helen Farrell says she's able to care for her two cats, Calypso and Misty, thanks to the support she receives from an organization called Sam's Hope.
"Every two months I get a bag of food and litter," says Farrell, "And Marianne is really a part of it."
Farrell is referring to Marianne Iaquinto, who founded the nonprofit in 2013. Iaquinto describes her organization's mission as "keeping pets and their people together."
Jane Woodington has been volunteering with Sam's Hope for about a year.
"Her inspiration for Sam's hope was actually her own dog," explains Woodington, "A little Shih Tzu named Samantha who struggled with health problems her whole life."
Iaquinto could afford to give her dog proper care and wanted to help others facing financial hardship do the same.
Woodington says, "Millions of family pets are surrendered or abandoned each year because their owners simply can't afford to care for them."
Sam's Hope relies entirely on donations and volunteers who bag and deliver the pet food and supplies twice a month to the homebound and elderly.
Woodington says, "Volunteers take the pet food directly to the pet owners. They also have veterinarian assistance programs."
Sam's Hope partners with meal delivery and in-home support programs to find clients most in need.
"Last year we delivered 29,000 pounds of food across three counties - Montgomery, Bucks and Philadelphia counties," says Woodington.
Ellen Rosenzweig works as both a case manager for In-Home Support at KleinLife and also as a Sam's Hope volunteer to her clients.
"It's just really important to help these seniors stay in their home," says Rosenzweig, "and be able to afford their animals."
"I don't have to worry all the time now about what I have and what I don't have," says Farrell. "I think it's wonderful."
To donate or sign up for Sam's Hope, visit: http://www.samshope.org
Sam's Hope deliveries are keeping seniors and their pets fed and together