It's time for the annual fundraising drive to support the Furry Friends Food Bank, a program through the Eastern Area Agency on Aging.

The Furry Friends Food Bank was started after volunteers for the Meals on Wheels program noticed that their clients were giving half their delivered meals to their pets. This not only wasn't providing enough food for the dogs and cats, but it was depriving the seniors of the proper nutrition. Further investigation resulted in the realization that some senior citizens were only taking half their medications, so they'd last twice as long, and using the extra money to buy pet food.

So, the folks at the Eastern Area Agency on Aging started the food bank, that provides free pet food to low-income seniors and adults with disabilities. This makes it possible for them to keep their pets. Those cute little cats and dogs are often the only living companions these folks have, which gives them someone to care for, and a reason for getting up in the morning. Pets are proven to lower blood pressure and improve quality of life. So they can go a long way toward battling depression and loneliness that often goes with being housebound.

Don Hanson, co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop, on Union Street in Bangor, says they're collecting donations, and have set up a fundraising page to make it easy. Folks can donate pet food, but by giving cash, the folks at Green Acres can make the dollars go further by purchasing it at wholesale prices through their distributors. For more information on the program, log onto the Eastern Area Agency on Aging's website. And to hear more about the food bank, tune into our station Sunday morning for 'Maine Concerns.'