Non-Profits, Volunteers Face Pain at Pump Too - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

07/23/07-Tyler

Non-Profits, Volunteers Face Pain at Pump Too

The price of gasoline in East Texas continues to stay awfully close to $3.00 per gallon.  This, as the Summer vacation season continues to drain supply. 

Families can cut back on gas costs, but those getting hot meals to the needy or blood to hospitals don't take a vacation.  

"It's worth the sacrifice.  These people are needy and it helps us more than it helps them, I think," says Betty McMahan, who along with husband Joe, make every Monday their day to give.

Their short route in Tyler for Meals on Wheels gets a hot meal into the hands of those homebound.  

"On the board every Monday when we come, it shows the routes open for the week. I noticed today they had quite a few that they didn't have anyone to do it," she says.

The cost of gas keeps soaring says agency Director of Volunteers Dianne Castle.

"Especially since most volunteers are over 50 and on fixed incomes. It's a little difficult for them," she says.

For the agency, moving meals to faraway places ran $60,000 in the Fiscal Year 2004-2005. 

This year, gas is on track to run them near $100,000.

Trips of the bloodmobile aren't free either, and they aren't optional.

"Cutting back on travel is not something a blood center can do," says Stewart Regional Blood Center marketing director Laura Little.

The blood center's vehicles cover an estimated 2 million miles annually.  If gas costs are over budget, they'll have to trim administrative costs.

Meanwhile, the McMahans say everyone needs to help charities meet the need, which never ends.   

So, what's causing all this?  Besides demand, one-third of the 150 refineries in the country have experienced problems this year.

That's been called an "invisible hurricane" keeping prices nearly as high as they were right after Hurricane Katrina.

Morgan Palmer, reporting

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