gas prices

Rising Gas Prices Affecting Bay Area Food Banks

NBC Universal, Inc.

$5 a gallon is becoming the new normal in California and there’s no telling when gas prices will drop.

Everyone in the Bay Area is digging a little deeper into their pockets to pay for gas at the pump, especially volunteers for Meals on Wheels.

“It takes about $75 to $80 to fill up my tank and that is occurring a few times a week as a result of both my volunteering and mom duties,” said Nora Ponce, a Meals on Wheels Volunteer.

Ponce said that she is a busy mom on the go. At least once a week, she picks up groceries from Meals on Wheels in Contra Costa County and drops them off to about a dozen hungry seniors. Some are too sick; others don’t have enough money to shop for themselves.

“You cannot imagine the smile on their faces to just get a basic food delivery,” she said.

Ponce told NBC Bay Area that she brings her son along for those trips.

“In the beginning, you think time is your only commitment and you’re realizing you’re spending a little bit more and more,” Ponce said. Gas prices are averaging $5 across the Bay Area and may jump even higher as the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues to escalate.

What about food banks, like Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano County, which feeds 250,000 people a month? “The high cost of gasoline not only is driving more clients to use the food bank as a resource, but it also increases the costs that we incur as a food bank,” said Cassidie Carmen Bates with the Food Bank of Contra Costa County & Solano.

The food bank has a fleet of 28 semi-trucks and they’ve already blown past their gas budget. The Alameda County Community Food Bank says it is paying more for gas– an extra $20,000 on fuel alone.

Meanwhile, Ponce isn’t cutting back on volunteering… but she is cutting back on other things.

“I’m going out a little less to go ahead and make sure that we can afford to keep volunteering and doing activities,” she said.

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