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'It keeps me up at night': Meals on Wheels worry people won't volunteer due to high gas prices

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Posted at 4:33 PM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 17:19:17-04

BALTIMORE  — It's no secret gas prices are impacting many of people, but for organizations like Meals on Wheels, the gas inflation is not only affecting them personally, but it may prevent them from doing their job, feeding vulnerable communities.

Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit that delivers food to individuals at home who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals.

The organization relies on community members to volunteer by using their own cars and gas to help deliver items to feed the less fortunate, but with the rise in gas costs.

Organizers worry people won't volunteer, which will leave vulnerable groups to suffer.

"It's one of those things that keeps me up at night, because this work is very important," said Stephanie Archer Smith, Executive Director and CEO of Meals on Wheels.

On a daily basis, the nonprofit feeds about 2,400 people, while driving 50-70 miles in a day.

The organization says they use about 40,000 gallons of gas in a year. Although they were able to keep a few loyal volunteers, they're struggling to recruit new drivers for the summer.

"With gas prices being what they are, these volunteers not only donate their time, but also their gas. It's been hard recruiting new volunteers, which is critical because we are serving more people outside of the pandemic now than ever before," said Archer Smith.

The CEO says the city is already doing what they can to help keep the nonprofit stay afloat, but if gas prices continue to trend upwards, they fear it may cause a ripple effect.

This effect will impact the nonprofit and those who depend on these resources.

Organizers say now more than ever, its important for community members to come together.

"We want people to know that we have lots of volunteer opportunities. If driving is not the volunteer opportunity you're looking for, we have lots of other ways you can help," said Archer Smith.

If you're interested in volunteering click here.