Amie’s Place Foundation Increases Support of Sunnyside Community Services’ Pet Pals Program for The Fifth Year

Amie’s Place Foundation Increases Support of Sunnyside Community Services’ Pet Pals Program for The Fifth Year With $70,000 Renewal Grant Over the Next Two Years.

December 2018, Sunnyside, NY: Thanks to a $70,000 renewal grant, Amie’s Place Foundation, a New York-based not-for-profit foundation that funds organizations dedicated to keeping families and pets together, has renewed funding to Sunnyside Community Services (SCS), a community-based nonprofit that provides multi-service programs that serve more than 14,000 people of all ages each year. The funding will allow SCS to continue and expand its important and impactful Pet Pals program. Amie’s Place Foundation has awarded a total of $140,000 since 2013 to Sunnyside Community Services’ Pet Pals program.

SCS Pet Pals, now in its fifth year, matches seniors in need of help with their animal companions in Astoria, Elmhurst, Fresh Meadows, Forest Hills, Jackson Heights, Long Island City, Middle Village, Sunnyside, Rego Park, Woodhaven, and Woodside with local volunteers to provide basic pet care such as walking, grooming and cleaning, and companionship for the senior. A critical benefit to the program is that it connects isolated and vulnerable seniors to social services they might otherwise not know about or choose not to pursue.

“From our extensive experience as providers of integrated services for older adults, we’ve found that many seniors who reach out to us with concerns about their pet receiving sufficient food and care may well be in need of the same necessities for themselves,” explained Sunnyside Community Services’ Executive Director Judy Zangwill, “Homebound and isolated seniors often have multiple and profound needs that require the coordination of many services, and our Pet Pals volunteers help us to make a connection that keeps at-risk seniors and their pets together safely, and provides them access to vital services such as home-delivered meals, home care, transportation, and case management services.”

Zangwill continued, “While research shows the loving relationship that seniors and their pets share can help alleviate an increased risk of depression and cognitive decline, homebound seniors may find the burden of caring for their pet on their own overwhelming. In addition to providing general pet care and companionship, Pet Pals commit to fostering animals in their own homes, so if a client needs to be admitted to the hospital they can focus on their health and recovery, confident their pets are being cared for safely and responsibly.”  Amie’s Place Foundation Trustees were pleased that the goals of the two organizations — to protect the special relationships vulnerable people and pets share and to reach, engage, and provide needed social services for isolated members of the community – are addressed by the Pet Pals program. They increased the award to a $70,000.00 two-year 2018/2019 renewal grant as a stepping stone towards a shared vision for a national social work intergenerational community-based service model.

About Sunnyside Community Services (SCS): SCS is a multi-service, nonprofit organization that provides services to 14,000 people of all ages each year. SCS offers a range of life-enhancing programs for youth and families that include pre-kindergarten and after-school programs for children; college prep and career programs for teens and young adults; adult literacy for English-language learners; benefit application assistance, and free Home Health Aide training. For older adults SCS offers a lively Center that provides hot meals and a variety of education and fitness options; caring and dedicated home care services; friendly visiting and Pet Pals; respite and resources for family caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s or chronic illness; a social adult day program, and more. For more information call 718-784-6173 or visit

About Amie’s Place Foundation: It all began in 1982 in Long Beach, Long Island, with the exceptional work of Lewis Gelfand, DVM who provides pet care treatment and assistance for people too ill to care for their pets. Based on Dr. Gelfand’s work, Amie’s Place Foundation was established in New York City to fund organizations providing programs for people who need assistance caring for their pets, risk losing them during times of crisis, or face barriers limiting access to their pets when they most need each other. In light of the profound healing effect that pets have on individuals who are encountering a difficult, sometimes life-changing event, the Foundation works to provide necessary pet-care assistance and to promote public awareness of the unique relationship a beloved pet and its human companion share. Grants have funded the first Senior Center and hospital-based programs at The Caring Community/1998 and St. Vincent’s Hospital/2003 in Greenwich Village, New York City. Amie’s Place Foundation has funded programs that include Beth Israel Medical Center, Colorado State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, FACES (Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures) at NYU Langone Medical Center, The Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH) in support of Request for Applications (RFA) issued by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) titled, “Animal-Assisted interventions for Special Populations”, Hospice Savannah, JASA, Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, MedicAlert Foundation International, PAWS NY, Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine—Center of The Human-Animal Bond, RedRover Domestic Violence Safe Housing Program, Schervier Nursing Care Center, Search and Care, and Sunnyside Community Services. The Foundation encourages national replication of programs that help prevent the unnecessary forced separation of people from their pets simply because no one is there to help them.