[UPDATE] Wheels Falling Off? Gas Crisis Hurting Meals on Wheels

By: Lanetra Bennett; Meals on Wheels Release Email
By: Lanetra Bennett; Meals on Wheels Release Email

[UPDATE] 5-19 -

Alexandria, VA (May 19, 2011) - As the cost of gas skyrockets, all Americans are paying top dollar to drive their vehicles, but it is the homebound seniors who rely on Meals On Wheels for their next meal that are struggling the most. Meals On Wheels programs and their volunteers are desperately working to continue to deliver meals despite the impact of the current gas crisis on their costs and operation. Recent findings show that the situation will only get worse if gas prices continue to rise.

According to a national survey conducted by Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA), many Meals On Wheels programs nationwide are struggling due to the increase in the price of gas. Nearly 80% of those Meals On Wheels programs have lost volunteers. One program reported losing 5 volunteers in a single week, an incidence that is unprecedented in the program's history. It is even more alarming that 25% of those programs reported they have had to reduce the number of meals they serve per week and 30% have started a waiting list of seniors needing meals. 67% believe their program will have to cut back on meal service if the price of gas enters in the range of $4.50 to $5.00. This crisis presents an urgent situation for Meals On Wheels considering that these programs nationwide serve approximately 1 million meals per day.

The cost of gas used by paid staff and volunteers of Meals On Wheels programs to deliver meals to seniors in their local communities each day is enormous. Each day across the United States Meals On Wheels programs and their volunteers drive 1.25 million miles to bring meals to seniors who need them, Currently, the total daily cost of gas used by all Meals On Wheels programs nationally exceeds $247,000. And every one cent increase in the price of gas equals an additional $250,000 a year that is spent on delivering meals to homebound seniors. On an annual basis this translates to millions more dollars spent. For example, gasoline prices for the week of May 9, 2011 were $1.06 higher than for the same week of 2010. This means that costs nationally of delivering services based on this factor alone increased by $26,500,000.

On MOWAA's website, mowaa.org, visitors can learn from an interactive graph how much the cost of gas affects the average American, Meals On Wheels volunteers and Meals On Wheels programs across the country.

Visual Graph: How do gas price increases affect Meals On Wheels Programs and Volunteers?

"For our Meals On Wheels programs, it is a triple whammy because gas prices are up, food prices are up, and the economy is down," said Enid Borden, President and CEO of MOWAA. "As Americans, we have a responsibility to think beyond ourselves and our wallets. The numbers don't lie. Our meal programs and the people they serve need help now. Just how long can we ask these seniors to wait for a life sustaining meal?"

MOWAA is encouraging the public to be part of the solution to ending senior hunger by volunteering for their local Meals On Wheels program or by simply making a donation. The national organization is collecting funds from individuals so that they can provide gas grants to select MOWAA Member programs in the most need.

Click here to view the list below of cities in America and how gas prices are impacting Meals On Wheels programs and volunteers.

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Elder Care Services says it takes at least 145 people a week to deliver for its Meals on Wheels Program.

But, the program is losing many long-time volunteers.

Tallahassee Mayor John Marks just made one woman's day.

She asked, "Could I kiss you on the cheek?"

Marks served her lunch while participating in Elder Care Services' Big Wheels Deliver Meals.

One 90-year-old woman said, "It means a lot because I just don't feel like cooking any more."

Several "local celebrities"--such as members from FSU Women's basketball team, the Tallahassee Police Department, the Leon County Sheriff's Office, and county commission--delivered meals to homebound seniors Wednesday.

But, program administrators say they are losing many of its regular 450 Meals on Wheels volunteers.

Meals on Wheels recipient Mary Bouie said, "The Meals on wheels Program is a blessing to me and I'm sure it is to somebody else. I just thank God for them. I hope it'll hang on, don't stop."

Administrators say high gas prices may stop some.

Randy Guemple has volunteered for ten years.

He drives about 40 miles every Wednesday delivering meals to those in need.

Guemple said, "It's probably a couple of gallons a gas, so that's probably $7 or $8 each week. So, yeah, it's a concern. But, it wouldn't stop me from doing it."

Administrators say the real threat is job-loss.

They say with so many people facing layoffs or taking over multiple duties... many can no longer spare the time to volunteer.

"I'd feel like I was letting them down if I didn't run the route." Said, Guemple.

Residents say Meals on Wheels is more than beef patties and baked beans. Volunteers also provide companionship.

Even I got a thank-you kiss on the cheek.

"Well, I'll kiss the TV camera." Said, the woman who kissed Mayor Marks.

If you would like to volunteer, please call Elder Care at 850-921-5554.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by NO NAME on May 19, 2011 at 06:10 PM
    GADSDEN AND LEON COUNTIES NEED TO BE INVESTIGATED FOR GAS PRICES
  • by lydia Location: tallahassee on May 19, 2011 at 12:05 PM
    Just a suggestion, attitudes need to be checked or you will soon not have any support, volunteer or otherwise. Attitude is everything. Negativity is a tool for the self-absorbed, the most infectious and causes the most damage. It is a personal choice. Good luck.
  • by anon on May 19, 2011 at 11:32 AM
    The CEO of the national Meals On Wheels has not taken a raise since 2009. She refuses.
    • reply
      by GV on May 19, 2011 at 03:52 PM in reply to anon
      At over 100000 a year,big deal.Why not donate some of THAT?Just keeping the rich rich and making the poor poorer.
  • by Death Star on May 19, 2011 at 08:22 AM
    Republicans don't abide in charity. If you can't pull yourself up by your bootstraps go barefoot. Conservatives are their own private charities.
    • reply
      by anonymous on May 20, 2011 at 04:41 PM in reply to Death Star
      The Republican philosophy is to give a person a fish and then teach them how to fish. Actually, Republicans donate more of their money to charities than Democrats.
  • by danielle Location: tallahassee on May 18, 2011 at 06:11 PM
    This program is a great program. We use it for a family member who is still trying to live independently but needs a little help on cooking right now. It is a great service they offer and hope it doesn't stop. The volunteers are WONDERFUL!!! thank you to each and everyone of you! To it is what it is I hope you never need help...
    • reply
      by grannie on May 19, 2011 at 05:38 AM in reply to danielle
      i hepled them a long time agoand , they were the most sweetest people i ever been around. they are not lazy , they have gotten oldwhich you'regonna get there one dayand i hope you don't ever need someone to hold your hand to help you get ot of a chair or something, now YOU ARE THE KIND OF PERSON I WOULD NOT HELP! you do not deserve help so you say you are not lazy?? so help yourself when you need it the most!!
  • by anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 05:12 PM
    Hint: Who owns Meals on Wheels? What do they bring in gross income every year?
    • reply
      by Anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 07:36 PM in reply to anonymous
      What is your point? This is a charitable organization, nobody "owns" it. The CEO made $105,000 in 2009, so what?
      • reply
        by anonymous on May 18, 2011 at 11:34 PM in reply to
        Check your facts....
      • reply
        by anon on May 18, 2011 at 11:46 PM in reply to
        in reply to Anonymous on 5/18: If you factor in a 3% raise based upon the $105,000 salary amount then the CEO would be making close to $112,000 dollars in 2011. That breaks down to $430 plus dollars A DAY or $53 dollars and hour plus benefits. WOW, where can I sign up for a "charitable" organization CEO position? Don't you think that the volunteers got wind of the salaries that are being paid to the employees of Meals on Wheels program and decided they would spend their time to benefit charities that lacked the funds of Meals on Wheels! BTW What does Elder Care Services have to do with Meals on Wheels? Are they linked together?
        • reply
          by Anonymous on May 19, 2011 at 04:56 AM in reply to anon
          Look at other positions (even here locally) with the same responsibility and managing the same budget. they make far more. 105, or 112 thousand, really doesn't matter it is not like she is getting rich from this job. Also she doesn't OWN the company, she just runs it. If you really think she makes too much, you need to look at the job market for people running organizations like this, and you will realize the real facts.
      • reply
        by GV on May 19, 2011 at 10:34 AM in reply to
        Well if they make that much,maybe they should donate some of it to the program.I bet they don't donate not one cent.Maybe they could buy some gas for some of the volunteers.Seems like the rich are just getting richer while making the poor get poorer.
  • by it is what it is on May 18, 2011 at 04:07 PM
    My parents did this for a while and they said they have never met more lazy, sorry people that would not raise a finger to help themselves in their lives. The recipients felt like that society owed them something, they were not grateful in the least. The Democraps are fueling this feeling - let's all get on the govt dole and let our grand kids figure out how to deal with it. Go Obummer, go.
    • reply
      by Whathasthisworldcome2 on May 18, 2011 at 07:56 PM in reply to it is what it is
      That's the point idiot. It's charity...Whether they deserve it or not you're providing a service for the greater good. You're just a POS. You're correct your parents gave there time but you just sit there making excuses for being lazy. LOSER!
      • reply
        by GV on May 19, 2011 at 04:41 AM in reply to Whathasthisworldcome2
        How many days a week do you volunteer,idiot?
        • reply
          by grannie on May 19, 2011 at 05:42 AM in reply to GV
          why you calling her names@@ i think you are dang crazy in the head , you must not have no brain. i don't know a word bad enough to call you, you are the worse of everthing!!!sorry redneck comes from the river
        • reply
          by GV on May 19, 2011 at 07:36 AM in reply to GV
          Reply to grannie,you telling me that I shouldn't call names when the person before me called the person before it an idiot,a pos,and a loser?Then you call me names.Typical old people.Are you serious?You must have oldstimer's desease.You forget to take your meds old grannie?
    • reply
      by RUKidding? on May 19, 2011 at 05:26 AM in reply to it is what it is
      R U freaking kidding? I have volunteered for MOW for 5 years now. Have YOU ever walked up to a door and there is a person lying on a COT, not a bed or couch or anything comfortable, a COT and you dont know if they are dead or alive? These people who receive this help often cannot afford to eat, have electricity or even their medication. Have you had to call the cops at a MOW stop when the patient (80 y.o. male) hadn't had insulin shots for 4 days, because his own family took it sold it for drugs and stole his money? NO YOU HAVEN'T...VOLUNTEER YOU LAZY POS, THEN LET US KNOW WHAT YOU SEE AND EXPERIENCE. If it doesn't move you, go find a hole and curl up and live in it!
      • reply
        by what a dope on May 19, 2011 at 07:42 AM in reply to RUKidding?
        Are you looking for a good conduct medal or what???
      • reply
        by ThankYou on May 19, 2011 at 09:12 AM in reply to RUKidding?
        I don't have a good conduct medal for you, but you do have my thanks. The world is a better place for volunteers like you. It is a fact that doing good means you will be punished for it at some point; there are scoundrels everywhere who will take advantage, criticize, or make it harder to be a helper. But that doesn't negate the fact that your positive acts are worthwhile...and that they are appreciated!
      • reply
        by GV on May 19, 2011 at 10:31 AM in reply to RUKidding?
        If you delivered food with that attitude it's a wonder you still have any teeth.Or has someone already knocked them out for you?
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