Escalating Fuel Costs Hit Hard For Meals On Wheels Of Tyler

Meals on Wheels of Tyler serves more than 3,000 senior citizens in 10 East Texas counties.
The service is made possible by almost 1,200 volunteers who give of their time, money and vehicle, but the high costs of gas is making it harder for volunteers and the organization to deliver meals.
For 15 years Hugh Denson has volunteered for Meals on Wheels of Tyler, making on average 10 stops a day. Like many volunteers using their own vehicles, he's watched the escalating cost of gasoline.
"I'd just like to know when it's going to quit rising," he says, "and it's not going to quit for a while." The rise in price is hitting the charity hard.
Meals on Wheels of Tyler is expecting $25,000 in added expenses because of fuel costs. Executive Director Mike Powell says the expenses go beyond their own delivery costs.
"Our food vendors are going to charge us more because their transportation costs have gone up," Powell says. "So I guess it's just going to have a trickle down effect on everything we buy."
Despite the extra expense, the organization says cutting corners by accepting less clients is something they just won't consider.
"A person who needs a meal, needs it today, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month. So, we'll just have to re-double our efforts to raise more money. Otherwise the only option would be to look back on cutting back on services, and that's really, as far as i'm concerned, not an option." Cutting back on driving isn't an option for volunteers like Hugh, who believe the meals they deliver are more important than the cent numbers on a gas sign.
"It bothers me overall, but as far as Meals on Wheels, the cost of fuel is not important."
Meals on Wheels of Tyler is still accepting volunteers and donations. To help you can call (903) 593-7385.

Story by Maya Golden,