A Kibble Connection
The Kibble Connection program began in 2007 when a MOWCM delivery volunteer, who was also a board member at the MD SPCA, realized that many of the clients she interacted with were feeding their MOWCM meals to their pets. This was due to both an inability to physically purchase pet food and the high costs of purchase. The Kibble Connection program was born when the MD SPCA and MOWCM joined forces. Each MOWCM client in the program receives a three-month supply of pet food quarterly for up to three pets (cats
and dogs) delivered by a dedicated volunteer. Katia Jones, Support Services Specialist at MOWCM says of the program, “Kibble Connection is an invaluable service that allows MOWCM to be More than a meal™. Our collaboration with the MD SPCA gives us the opportunity to assist our clients and their beloved pets in remaining together. This helps to reduce social isolation for the client while also providing them with the peace of mind in knowing that their furry companions are also getting the proper nutrition they deserve.” Volunteering for Kibble Connection is a fun and meaningful way to give back for families like Karen and her grandchildren.
A year before retiring from teaching, Karen decided to seek out opportunities to volunteer in the community.
She wanted an activity that would allow her to volunteer alongside her grandchildren. It is very important to Karen that her grandchildren are sensitive to and understanding of other people; she wanted them to see how putting time and energy into serving others reaps widespread benefits. While learning about MOWCM in 2019, the Kibble Connection program really stood out because her grandchildren had dogs. For over two years, Karen, Ayla (15), and Jake (14) have been delivery volunteers with the program. Karen knows how important it is to develop a real rapport with clients. Each week before a delivery, she will call to check in. Oftentimes, they end up having a very pleasant conversation. Karen says, “When I speak to the clients, I am able to see that they’re okay or if there are any issues that need to be addressed. As a volunteer, this conversation gives me the peace of mind that someone is looking after them.” Karen also knows how important MOWCM services are to clients’ families. Karen describes how a client’s daughter who lives out of state, is able to have peace of mind that her parent has support.
Karen is always impressed with the lengths that MOWCM and the MD SPCA go to ensure that clients are okay. She tells the story in which a client once asked if she could bring squirrel food. Karen felt honored that the client felt comfortable to ask her and relayed the message to the SPCA. To Karen’s surprise, squirrel food was provided to the client for the next delivery.
Karen says, “While Jake and Ayla have totally different personalities, they both have focus and respect for the clients.” During the COVID-19 pandemic, both teens were always attentive to making sure that the clients were taken care of and safe, from wearing masks and gloves to wiping everything down. Karen comments, “The clients love to chat with younger people, and I am so proud of my grandchildren in the respect that they have for people that are aging.” When reflecting on the entire experience, Karen says, “Volunteering fosters a relationship of caring with clients that values true kindness. Kindness is not always something that is easy to teach, but through volunteering with the Kibble Connection program, my grandchildren have exhibited pure kindness and I couldn’t be more proud.”