High fuel costs are impacting non-profit organizations

Gas prices hit record high over the past week adding another hit to our bank accounts.
Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 10:56 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Gas prices hit record high over the past week adding another hit to our bank accounts. That also extends to organizations dedicated to driving meals to seniors and those who need help putting food on the table.

Many of these organizations rely on volunteers, some using their own gas to get food into your refrigerator. Now they’re making changes to their routes to make sure nobody gets left behind.

President and CEO of Dare Care, Vincent James shares how the recent gas prices have affected their volunteers and operation.

“My thought immediately goes to, ‘are we going to be able to deliver the food that we need to our neighbors that are in need?’ That’s the biggest question that I have, and that’s the one thing that keeps me up at night,” James said.

One in seven people in the Louisville area don’t get food on the table for their families or themselves. That’s why Vincent James is losing sleep at night and is working hard to make sure that these trucks stay on the road even as the gas prices soar.

“What’s impacting us now is this inflation. Inflation of the gas prices, with food, and it’s impacting the food banks and other charitable organizations,” James said.

James says Dare to Care gets massive food donations from companies but they pay for the freight. The problem is now that cost is up 40%.

“I mean, it’s just astronomical when you think about trying to budget from a non-profit perspective. And so it’s impacting our ability to serve in the way that we want to serve,” James said.

Louisville’s Senior Nutrition Program, known as Meals on Wheels, is feeling it too. Program Manager, Marvita Starks says that it anxiety inducing.

“There’s a little anxiety, just knowing how much it costs to fill up a gas tank,” Starks said.

Starks says that they’ve worked to alter routes to try to keep volunteers from driving too far or far too long, The more volunteers they have the easier it is to do so.

“So we try to keep the routes kind of small, but we can actually add more seniors if we have more volunteers. We try to give them routes closer to where they live,” Starks said.

Meals on Wheels also has what they call congregate sites where you can volunteer if you’d like to help but can’t afford to drive right now.

James says that they’re working to increase the budget an additional 412 thousand dollars to make sure nobody goes hungry.

“That’s significant for us, because every penny is accountable, so when you’re adding that type of cost to fuel prices, it’s unbelievable,” James said.

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