High gas prices slow Meals on Wheels

Thursday, June 12th 2008, 7:04 pm

By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

Record high gas prices are draining just about everyone's wallets. Some groups that help the community are feeling the effects.

One organization that feeds families blames the gas prices for a shortage of volunteers.

Every day of the week Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers load up and hit the road.

Steve Gresham makes the rounds on his route in Norman.

"I'd say it's very rewarding, knowing you're helping someone and you may be the only person they see for days," Gresham said.

Gresham delivers meals to people who are ill, elderly or disabled; people who may not see anyone else all day, except for him.

It only takes a few moments to hand over a meal but it can make all the difference in the world.

"It means everything," Meals on Wheels client Grace Roley said. "I'm alone and I just wouldn't prepare meals like we get."

"They're such great people to give their time like they do and everything and they're just so nice," client Dorthy Davis said.

Even though Gresham and many other drivers are out there, Meals on Wheels in Norman is experiencing a volunteer shortage.

Typically, this time of year, Meals on Wheels gets 15 new volunteers a month, but for the past few months they haven't had any.

The organization blames the shortage on high gas prices.

"A volunteer that delivers just a regular route kind of on a small side once a week gives a donation of a little over $300 a year in gas," Executive Director of Norman Meals on Wheels Lynn Haynes said.

That amounts to a big chunk of money that's driving people away and forcing some to cover two routes. There's no question, they need more drivers for a service so many cannot survive without.

"I'd help out myself if I was younger, in a minute, because it's the best work you could do," Davis said.

Meals on Wheels wants to add another route, but needs seven new drivers to do so.

If you'd like to donate money for gas or volunteer, call 321-7272.


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