SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — Local delivery services are feeling the effects of gas prices.
Meals on Wheels is a 70-year-old food delivery service helping those who cannot get groceries or prepare their own food. Workers volunteer their time to keep the program going, but unprecedented inflation is testing that commitment.
Despite mainly local routes, Michael Norton, community relations director at Meals on Wheels, says finding workers has been increasingly difficult.
“We’re in a position where we’re struggling to get volunteers,” Norton said. “I suspect that the gas prices has made that challenge a little harder.”
The program transitioned back to five days per week after COVID forced the service into a three-day delivery system. With many looking for ways to scale back their gas bills, that change has offered challenges.
“We went to a three-day delivery, so that meant we needed less volunteers,” Norton said. “When we went back to the five-day delivery now we needed to recruit some more volunteers and that’s been a challenge.”
Norton said that Onondaga County is working with Meals on Wheels to ease the strain on drivers. The county tracks miles and supplies drivers with gas cards each month. However, this only accounts for a fraction of the cost.
Despite feeling financial effects, volunteer driver James Boyce said servicing the community remains a priority.
“I’m offering my time, my gas, my service, this is my service to the community, so what it costs me it costs me,” Boyce said.