13-year-old Hamilton resident creates 'Jordyn's Cause 4 Paws,' a Meals on Wheels spinoff for pets
HAMILTON — Jordyn Cascone, a 13-year-old Hamilton resident, wanted to work on a project that would help animals. She knew many homebound seniors who live on a fixed income will feed their pets before they feed themselves, so she decided to do something to help. As a way to work toward earning her Girl Scout Silver Award, Cascone decided to create Jordyn's Cause 4 Paws, which works with Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing to organize weekly food bags for clients who have pets.
“I wanted to do my Silver Award and I wanted to do it on animals,” the eighth-grader at Crockett Middle School said. “So I researched and I found out that the seniors give their food to their pets more than they give it to themselves, so it was not nutritious for their pets or themselves so I thought that I should help them.”
The program started in early October, and each week Cascone puts together food bags tailored to the individual dietary needs of 11 dogs, 15 cats and one fish. The food is provided through donations and purchase.
“I organized this program because the companionship of pets plays an important role in the quality of these recipients’ lives,” Cascone said. “I was very happy that Meals on Wheels of Trenton/Ewing was so open to working with me on my project.”
Meals on Wheels has always distributed pet food, but it always depended on if food was available at the food bank or on individual donations, said Sasa Montaño, the Executive Director of Meals on Wheels.
“It’s very exciting,” Montaño said. “Her stepping up has enabled us to do much more for pets than we’ve been able to do in the past.” Montaño said she was impressed that a young person would be interested in helping seniors. “It is always a challenge for us to recruit the younger volunteer, and when Jordyn reached out to us with such a novel idea, I knew immediately this would be a fruitful collaboration,” she said.
Traditionally, the Silver Award project is something that is passed down for someone else to work on, but Cascone wants to keep working on it as long as she can. Meals on Wheels recently received a grant for $2,500 from the Banfield Charitable Trust to start the Jordyn's Cause 4 Paws program, Montaño said.
“From sharing human meals to going without needed medications, seniors will do whatever it takes to keep their pets with them,” said Dianne McGill, executive director and CEO of Banfield Charitable Trust. “Pet food donations are literally a lifeline for seniors and we are so excited to support this new program.”
Cascone said she understands how important pets are to seniors, and she wants to make a difference in the lives of pet owners and their pets.
“It just feels good to be helping all those dogs,” she said. “I just enjoy it.”
On Dec. 20 and 21, Jordyn’s Cause 4 Paws will host a fundraiser at Texas Roadhouse on Route 33 in Hamilton, where 10 percent of the food purchased will be donated to her cause when the customers present the flier at the restaurant.
The flier, as well as more information about fundraising, can be found at JordynsCause4Paws.org.