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Meals on Wheels kicks off August is for AniMEALS campaign

Local businesswomen Lorna Medinger, of Hughes Plumbing Supply, Debbie Barnhardt, of Barnhardt Jewelers in Spencer, and Kimberly Hardiman, of Hardiman Design, are animal lovers.

Last year, they came together to sponsor a “Fill our Tubs with AniMEALS” campaign in August that raised over one ton of pet food, 456 cans of pet food and $1,200 in contributions. The proceeds support pet companions of homebound seniors across Rowan County who receive home-delivered meals.

Meals On Wheels Meals coordinator Suzanne Weber who organizes the deliveries of pet food, said, “these women did an amazing job, they engaged folks we had never heard from before, people who care about animals and now care about our participants.” 

This year, Hardiman is coordinating “August is for AniMEALS.” The goal for this year is two tons of pet food and $2,000. Hardiman’s mantra is “go big or go home.” She worked with Lettered Lily on the graphic designs for posters, banners, yard signs and bag stuffers.

Hardiman also enlisted new businesses to serve as donation sites and sponsors. Hughes Plumbing Supply, at 531 South Main St. in Salisbury, and Barnhardt Jewelers, at 314 S. Salisbury Ave. in Spencer, were the two drop off locations last year. Joining them this year are Dr. James K. Jolly, DDS, at 1816 East Innes St.; Lazy 5 Vets. 2916 South Main St., Stitchin’ Post Gifts, 104 South Main St., Lettered Lily, 113 West Fisher St. and West Rowan Farm Home and Garden, 11575 NC 801, Mt. Ulla.

Several of the businesses are offering special incentives to come in and donate. Dr. Jolly is offering a drawing for a Yeti cooler, and Barnhardt Jewelers is offering a drawing for a paw pendant. Hardiman is giving away matching paw earrings from Barnhardt Jewelers. 

AniMEALS event coordinator Kimberly Hardiman said, “We want to support the pet companions of these homebound seniors. Meals on Wheels never uses donations for participant meals for pets. Only AniMEALS donations can be used for pet foods and pet care. Their primary mission is to feed homebound seniors a nutritious meal. But we believe companion animals are vital to seniors, and it is often difficult for these seniors to grocery shop or to get heavy bags or cans of pet food into their homes.” She also said, “we don’t want our seniors to feed half of their meal to their animals because they feel guilty that they don’t have any pet food at home.” 

The posters, banners, and signs for “August if for AniMEALS” feature pets found in many of the local businesses. Many local shoppers will recognize Sasha from Stitchin’ Post Gifts, Abby from Barnhardt’s Jewelers and Fisher from Lettered Lilly. 

Contributions will provide vouchers for rabies vaccinations, wellness checks and grooming when needed. Meals on Wheels Rowan received a grant during 2019- 2020 form Meals on Wheels America that provided for vaccine vouchers and wellness checks for pet companions. All home-delivered meals participants must sign a pet agreement so volunteers can deliver to their home. Pets must have up to date rabies vaccinations and be contained during meal deliveries. 

Meals on Wheels meals coordinator Suzanne Weber said, “We appreciate the support of these local businesswomen. We are ready to fill our Pet Food Cans so that we can assist our participants with pet food over the next 4-6 months. Our volunteers often tell us that our participants express their sincere thanks for the pet food donations many times over.” 

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