A Full Belly for the Whole Family

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"Manna from Heaven"

Knowing Sydney was hungry, Beard felt so guilty she could only pick at her food. She leaned down and placed the tray at her feet and smiled as the dog lapped it up. The shared meal became their daily ritual, and Beard ate only one other small meal at night, usually cottage cheese and fruit. Feeling ashamed, she never left a licked tray for the MOW driver to find. But Tamboaon somehow sensed the pair's need and suggested to his supervisor that Beard be included in the new PET program. One day, without saying a word, he simply handed her kibble. The gratitude in Beard's eyes said it all.

Nationally an estimated 20 percent of MOW's 4,500 branches now run similar pet-food programs. "Someday we'd like all of our programs to be able to do this," says Enid Borden, the organization's chief executive officer. "It's our job to provide nourishment to the household, and pets are often part of that." At Beard's home, both she and Sydney are eating better. With unlimited free food, Sydney has put on 10 pounds, and Beard is now able to spend all of her monthly food allowance on herself. She considers the help from MOW and PET as nothing less than a blessing. "It's like manna from heaven," Beard says. "It has made all the difference."

Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal magazine, January 2006.



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