Rising gas prices impacting senior meal delivery programs across Delmarva
DELMARVA- A hot topic for months has been rising gas prices.While we see how increased costs may be impacting our wallets, it’s also had an affect on local organizations.
CHEER, in Delaware, and MAC Inc., in Salisbury, are just one of the many places providing services to senior citizens. Both, deliver meals to home-bound seniors through their Meals on Wheels Program, and with gas prices through the roof they’re hurting.
“We offer an awful lot of miles with these trucks that are essential,” CEO of CHEER, Ken Bock, said. “In addition to that, we have a fleet of buses that we operate throughout Sussex County all of these run on gas.”
The organizations said they agree their volunteers who use their own resources to deliver meals are feeling the impacts too, so much so, some are having to make tough decisions.
“We are concerned they are such an asset to us and to our program that as they feel that increase it might become a concern,” Carol Zimmerman, the Director of Aging and Dementia Programs at MAC Inc., said.
“It is increasingly difficult for them, however, we are hearing stories and seeing stories more and more where people are having to discontinue or at least scale back,” Bock said.
But even with all these challenges though, both centers are doing what they can to keep their mission alive, even if that means re-routing plans.
“We consolidated our routes some, using a route planner, so we are using the most efficient amount of fuel; and we are trying to look at other ways in which we can keep it going,” Zimmerman said. “We don’t want to start a wait list, we really want to be able to serve people but that might be in the picture as well.”
“We will deliver additional frozen meals in addition to the hot so people will still have the meals that are dependent on,” Bock said.