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How rising gasoline prices are affecting Meals on Wheels deliveries

Volunteers for Meals on Wheels use their own cars to deliver food, and their own money to fill up their gas tanks.

NORFOLK, Va. — The rising cost of gasoline is hitting everyone hard, but leaders with Meals on Wheels said they’re not letting the rising gas prices stop them from helping others.

Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia delivers breakfast, lunch and dinner to older Virginians through the program. Senior Operations Director Charnitta Waters said volunteers use their own cars to deliver food, and their own money to fill up their gas tanks.

“Currently we are very grateful and gracious because our volunteers, they are the best," Waters said. "Yes, they are relying on their own efforts to fill up their gas tanks to deliver these meals to seniors.”

Gretchen Trout, a volunteer with the program, said it’s not cheap: "$60 to $70, I think," he said.

Waters said the high cost of gasoline affects everything her organization does, not just Meals on Wheels.

“We rely on gasoline not just for this program but for a plethora of services that we provide here at Senior Services," Waters said. “Delivering meals, getting them to the congregate site, even our options counselors going into the homes to assess the need, we have multiple people on the road at any given time.”

But it’s important work. Trout said she’s not going to let spending a few extra bucks on gas stop her from helping out. 

“I’ve been volunteering for the last couple of years. I actually started during the pandemic because I really saw it was a time and opportunity to give back to my community," Trout said. "During these times, I feel fortunate to be able to endure the rising cost of gas and still be able to give back.”

Trout added: “The seniors in our community are particularly in need during these times. Those with mobility issues and transportation concerns so if I can help out, you know, once a week and deliver food, it’s just a way to give back to my community and support those who really need it.” 

Senior Services could use your help. You can donate money or sign up to volunteer on their website.

There are a lot of volunteer opportunities at Senior Services and they’re not just looking for meal delivery drivers. You can also volunteer in their office, teach elderly people how to use technology or simply give home-bound seniors a phone call. 

“Our older adults have cared for us, so I want us as a community, as a city, state, and even nation to position ourselves to ensure that we’re caring for them," Waters said.

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