JACKSON TWP.  Sauder Elementary students collected more than 600 pounds of pet food during the month of December as part of their annual pet food drive for Wheel on Wags (WOW). Someone also donated a $100 gift card for PetSmart.

Meals on Wheels of Stark and Wayne counties hosts the Wheels for Wags program. The pet food gets delivered to clients of Meals on Wheels who have a campion dog or cat.

"Many of our clients are unable to get out to buy food for themselves of for their pet and this program allows our drivers to take along some pet food when they deliver the hot meals to the clients," said Meals on Wheels Associate Marketing Specialist Kara White.

Luann Koch, a librarian at Sauder, along with the help of volunteer, Pat Webb, coordinate the pet food drive every year.

"Every year we send an announcement home to parents that we are collecting dog and cat food and treats for the Wheels on Wags program," Koch said. "We put a Christmas tree up in the library and fill it with candy canes. When the students bring in a donation for the first time, they get to take a candy cane. We really appreciate the response and generosity of our Sauder families. They always respond to a need in the community," she said.

White said the drivers who deliver the meals are often the only person their clients see throughout the week and they depend on the pets for companionship. They often give the pets part of their own meal when they are low on pet food.

"Over half of our clients have pets and this program helps the clients take care of their pets. We try to address the whole person and do everything we can to help keep them in their home," White said.

Pet food gets distributed throughout the year. Meals on Wheels keeps an eye on the amount of pet food they have and when it starts to get low, they contact one of the many groups who do pet food drives.

"We are always so impressed by the pet food collection at Sauder. We really do appreciate the efforts of the Sauder students and all of our pet food drive groups. Meals on Wheels couldn’t do the work we do without community support," White said.

Meals on Wheels is at 2363 Nave Road SE in Massillon. For more information about getting meals delivered, the Wheels for Wags program or to volunteer, call 330-832-7220.