High Gas Prices Pinching Charity Volunteers - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

4/5/05-Tyler

High Gas Prices Pinching Charity Volunteers

The higher price of gas is taking its toll, especially on one East Texas charity and their volunteers. Meals On Wheels relies, in part, on volunteers who deliver, on their own time, and with their own car, hot meals to the homebound and needy.

Hugh Denson has been making his rounds for 15 years now. Getting meals to those who desperately need them.

"It helps me to appreciate my health. I'm 86 years old," he says.

But what he doesn't appreciate is how much more it costs now to fill up. Neither does volunteer Marie Follis.

"You have a lot of homebound people who depend on us," she says.

She runs her route several times a week, and despite the cost she pushes through.

"My husband and I are retired. We are on a fixed income, but we're going to go out there and help somehow," Follis says.

Hugh and Marie drive many miles, but the charity itself uses 5,000 gallons of fuel a month to get to where others can't.

"Based on what prices were a year ago, we're looking at about a $40,000 to $50,000 crunch to our budget at this point."

For charities, money is hard to come by. And with high gas prices, so are volunteers. Meals On Wheels relies those hardy souls until times get better.

Marie Follis: "We're going to do it if we have to dig into our pockets... start digging out our pennies because we want to help people."

If you'd like to help Meals On Wheels, you can find them in your phone book. Donations to the Tyler area Meals On Wheels will be matched all this month.   That money comes from a New Jersey philanthropist.

Reported by Morgan Palmer.

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