In a rough economy the spike in gas prices is affecting volunteer counts at Texoma non-profits.
The Kitchen's Meals on Wheels program is feeling the pinch.
Volunteer Elaine Vinson comments,"It might be a lot of time and money and gas, but just think if you were in that situation. With the way our economy is right now and say if one day you're sick and need food. If you get out and help someone then maybe one day somebody can help you." Vinson is among a handful of people who pack up their personal cars and drive a few miles to deliver food to 700 Wichita Falls seniors. But when gas prices go up, the pain at the pump takes a toll on the program.
Kayla Watts, Director of Development and Marketing of The Kitchen says, "When the economy changes when gas goes up and the price of anything goes up it makes a difference. Right now we need about 30 volunteers. That goes up and down with the weather, but the economy is the main indicator there." Watts says volunteers have had to give up their time because they could not afford it anymore. "Unfortunately that happens and we understand when it happens. It's something that all of us face at one time or another. It's heart wrenching to go through because the people that are volunteers really are invested."
Watts says Meals on Wheels is more than just delivering a hot meal. Relationships are built along the way between volunteers and clients. That is what Watts says really makes the difference. "It is more often the case that the volunteer that delivers the meals is the only other human the client sees all day."
That is why Vinson volunteers."When you knock and say meals on wheels and they come and they say good morning, we smile and they smile back at us. It just makes them feel good that they know somebody is coming and somebody is thinking about them."
Watts understands times may be tough, but she still encourages more people to volunteer because Texoma elderly need our help.
The Kitchen gets new calls everyday from elderly citizens needing to get daily meals. Staff says the more people who join the program the more volunteers are needed.
Anyone who wants to become a volunteer just needs to call The Kitchen at 322 - 6232. All the organization asks for is one hour out of the day one day a week. If people cannot volunteer their time they can make a donation. Click here to donate at The Kitchen's website.