Nonprofits like Meals on Wheels brace for rising gas prices


Many organizations rely on their volunteers not only for their time and help, but sometimes also for their personal cars and gas money.

LOVELAND, Colo. — The price of a gallon of gasoline keeps rising.

Colorado’s average was $3.91 on Wednesday, according to AAA, up nearly 10 cents from the previous day and 50 cents in one week.

This is becoming an increasing burden for many nonprofits and service organizations, which rely on their volunteers not just for their time and help, but sometimes for their personal cars and gas money as well.

“Not only do they volunteer their time – half an hour to a few hours a day – but they also drive their own cars,” said Jeff Pomranka, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Loveland and Burgdorf.

“So they put their own gas in there, pay their own insurance, put a strain on their cars,” he said.

Pomranka said he appreciates his generous volunteers. But as gas nears $4 a gallon, he said he has some concerns.

“We’ll see how it goes,” he said. “We didn’t know how it was until we had a pandemic. We don’t know what it will be like to live with gas prices of $5, $6 a gallon. We will find a solution.

“What else is there to do?” he said. “The people we serve are so dependent on food.”

Pomranka said the organization serves about 320 people, with volunteers covering about 30 routes. Some routes are short, staying within a neighborhood. Others are much longer – some volunteers traveling dozens of kilometers to deliver meals.

“We have a route that’s probably closer to 30 miles,” he said. “To drive that many miles on your car, every week, just to help an organization and the people we serve – that’s great.”

Patty Glasgow has been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for 15 years. Its current course is quite short and gas costs are not yet a burden.

“The good news of being retired, like me and my husband [is], we don’t have long commutes to work,” she said. “If we drive long distances to a place, it’s a choice.”

And his choice is to continue delivering meals.

It is volunteer work that she loves.

“It’s such a privilege for me to be able to help people who can’t get to the grocery store on their own, who can’t cook on their own, they’re basically housebound – and I’m not,” said she declared. noted. “It’s just a chance for me to share my good fortune with other people. I’m feeling lucky.

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