Record-high gas prices have been making it tough on volunteers who dip into their own pockets to deliver much-needed meals to Bay Area seniors.
Antioch is offering some help. The East Bay city is donating $25,000 to purchase gas cards for Meals on Wheels volunteers to help keep their gas tanks full and the food flowing.
"We as a city just wanted to make sure that those who are volunteering their time, giving whatever little disposable income they may have to support our seniors, that we provide them some relief as well," Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe said.
Meals on Wheels Diablo Region said the number of people it feeds has gone up 40% while the number of volunteers has decreased.
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"What we’ve found is in the past two months we haven’t had as many people apply to be volunteers," Sherrie Nadworny with Meals on Wheels Diablo Region said. "We think that’s probably because of the gas prices."
Meals on Wheels hopes the gas cards will help them retain the drivers they have and perhaps recruit others.
"It was a wonderful gift and it made us feel that we can support the people in Antioch with the meals that they need," Nadworny said.
Tom Turner has been delivering meals to seniors in Contra Costa County for seven years. He said though he has to dig deeper in his pockets to fuel up, he’d never let that stop him.
"It’s wonderful to see smiles on people's faces when you’re delivering meals," he said. "I know they enjoy the meals and they enjoy the interaction."
Andre Hall’s 90-year-old father depends on the deliveries. He’s grateful to everyone going the extra mile right now to help.
"Good luck to you guys and bless you for your hard work and service," he said. "Thank you very much."