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High Fuel Costs Impact Nonprofits

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – Gasoline prices have hit a record high over the past week, adding another hit to our bank accounts. This also extends to organizations dedicated to bringing meals to the elderly and those who need help putting food on the table.

Many of these organizations rely on volunteers, with some using their own gas to get food into your fridge. Now they are changing their routes to make sure no one is left behind.

President and CEO of Dare Care, Vincent James explains how recent gas prices have affected their volunteers and how they operate.

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

One in seven people in the Louisville area has no food on the table for their family or for themselves. That’s why Vincent James loses sleep at night and works hard to make sure these trucks stay on the road even when gas prices skyrocket.

“What is impacting us now is this inflation. Inflation in gas prices, with food, and that impacts food banks and other charities,” James said.

James says Dare to Care receives massive food donations from businesses, but they pay the freight. The problem now is that the cost has increased by 40%.

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

Louisville’s Senior Nutrition Program, known as Meals on Wheels, is also feeling it. Program manager Marvita Starks says it’s anxiety-provoking.

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

Starks says they have been working to modify routes to prevent volunteers from driving too far or too long. The more volunteers they have, the easier it is to do this.

“So we try to keep the routes quite small, but we can actually add more older people 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 gathering sites where you can volunteer if you want to help out but can’t afford to drive at the moment.

James says they are working to increase the budget by another $412,000 to make sure no one goes hungry.

“It’s important to us because every penny is responsible, so when you add that kind of cost to fuel prices, it’s amazing,” James said.

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