Meals on Wheels programs help seniors with a warm meal and some company.
But there’s another need that Senior Life Resources, which manages local programs, noticed along the way.
“Some of the elderly who are receiving Meals on Wheels have pets and can’t afford food or treats for their pets,” said Laurie Holmes, program director at Callaway Gardens Alzheimer’s special care center in Kennewick.
Holmes, who directs programs at the memory care home, said staff at the home had an idea that would treat everyone involved.
“What if we made dog treats and delivered them?” Holmes asked.
And so the home’s residents been making dog treats on a monthly basis, while Meals on Wheels staff delivers the treats to families in need.
An open house for the public is scheduled Saturday at the Benton County Animal Control shelter at 1116 N. Grant Place in Kennewick.
Residents got to deliver some of the treats themselves Thursday when about a dozen rode a bus to visit the nearby Benton County Animal Control shelter at 1116 N. Grant Place.
An open house for the public is scheduled at the animal shelter from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
There will be raffle tickets for gift baskets given to everyone who makes a donation.
“They will probably use our little treats in those gift baskets,” Holmes said.
They’ve made pumpkin, peanut butter and crunchy cinnamon dog treats using common ingredients such as molasses, vegetable oil and whole wheat flour.
At least one program assistant works with residents to mix and then craft some of the little dog-bone cutouts.
“When we start doing all the mixing, it’s still kind of a larger group,” Holmes said.
Like other projects at the home, Holmes said it all starts with the residents. They help put the ingredients together during the first steps of mixing before baking.
“We’ve gotta have the residents,” Holmes said. “Whenever we do any type of program or activity for someone, it really gets (residents) involved. It just gives them a purpose of what we’re doing, and they feel good about it.”
The dog treat-making sessions, which are currently a monthly activity, may expand to bi-weekly or even weekly sessions.
About two or three residents help put the treats into baggies after they’re cooked.
Holmes said she hopes they can begin a new partnership between the shelter and the home, so that residents get more “animal therapy time” with the dogs and cats.