According to a national survey conducted by Meals On Wheels Association of America (MOWAA), many Meals On Wheels programs nationwide are struggling due to the increase in the price of gas. Nearly 80% of those MOW programs have lost volunteers.
One reported losing five volunteers in a single week, an incidence that the organization says is unprecedented in the program's history. Further, a quarter of those programs reported they have had to reduce the number of meals they serve per week and 30 percent have started a waiting list of seniors needing meals.
Two thirds of those surveyed say they believe their program will have to cut back on meal service if the price of gas enters in the range of $4.50 to $5.00, a significant threat to an organization that serves about a million meals per day.
MOW programs and their volunteers drive 1.25 million miles daily to bring meals to seniors with a cost of gas that exceeds $247,000. Every one cent increase in the price of gas equals an additional $250,000 a year. Gasoline prices for the week of May 9, 2011 were $1.06 higher than for the same week of 2010, representing a cost increase of $26,500,000.
"For our Meals On Wheels programs, it is a triple whammy because gas prices are up, food prices are up, and the economy is down," says MOWAA President/CEO Enid Borden. "As Americans, we have a responsibility to think beyond ourselves and our wallets. The numbers don't lie. Our meal programs and the people they serve need help now. Just how long can we ask these seniors to wait for a life sustaining meal?"
For more and to find out how you can help, go to the MOWAAA website at www.mowaa.org.