Summer is here and if you’re looking for ways to volunteer with your friends or family, consider adopting a weekly route or sign up as a substitute during the summer months with Meals on Wheels Central Texas.

Joel H. Hess, PALS program manager, joined Studio 512 Co-Host Rosie Newberry to talk about PALS — Pets Assisting the Lives of Seniors.

“PALS provides assistance in caring for the pets of current Meals on Wheels Central Texas clients. A pet can provide much-needed companionship and help to reduce the isolation and loneliness that many of the homebound seniors and adults with disabilities we serve experience,” Hess said.

“As one client wrote to us, ‘God Bless you for thinking about our little pets. I love and adore my kitty more than anything or anyone on Earth. I couldn’t live a day without him.’ The PALS program keeps clients and their pets together, living at home with dignity.”

How/why did PALS begin in 2007 & what does the program provide?

“Staff/volunteers found our meal containers on the ground for pets to eat out of and learned that our clients were feeding their food to their pets, meaning our clients were staying nutritionally deficient. This need led to the beginning of the PALS program 15 years ago. Since then, we have been able to help our clients better care for their pets. We provide pet assistance in the form of pet food and supplies and annual wellness veterinary care.”

How does it benefit clients & what kind of support is needed?

“Our clients are homebound and many find difficulty paying for veterinary bills and pet supplies. Through our volunteers, we can transport pets to the vet and pet food to their homes. This allows our clients to keep their pets in their homes. 52% of our clients live alone making these human-animal relationships even more important.”


Meals On Wheels Central Texas needs volunteers to help deliver pet food and transport pets. Hess said MOWCTX serves about 300 clients and 500 pets.

Applying to volunteer is easy. Fill out an application online today at

The organization also needs unopened pet food and litter, as well as donations like Adopt-A-Care.

Learn more about Adopt-A-Care at The event runs July 18-29.

Client stories

Hess also shared a couple of stories about the impact PALS has made on clients:

Mr. Lee / Ellie Story:

“After an apartment fire tragically took his home this winter, Mr. Lee’s primary concern was the safety and comfort of his dog Ellie — a nine-year-old pit bull terrier. Through the PALS program, Mr. Lee was able to get pet supplies including bowls, bedding, blankets, toys, treats, and food for Ellie. Receiving these supplies freed up the time and energy Mr. Lee needed so he could focus on finding a new home and replacing items lost in the fire.”

Dawn / Oscar & Natasha story:

“Oscar lives with his owner Dawn and two kitty siblings. Oscar was a rescue that was left in the trash. He is very attached to his mom and likes to play in the water in the sink. Natasha likes to defy her mom and climb on the furniture. She also likes to wrestle with her brother Oscar.”

Learn more about Meals On Wheels Central Texas.

This segment is paid for by Meal On Wheels Central Texas and is intended as an advertisement. Opinions expressed by the guest(s) on this program are solely those of the guest(s) and are not endorsed by this television station.