Meals on Wheels volunteer driver Sal Depasquale brings food to 89-year-old Frances Crowder once a week.
“He’s always on time,” Crowder said. “Oh boy, I don’t know what we’d do without Mr. Sal.”
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Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit food delivery service. Depasquale has been a volunteer driver for more than 10 years.
“It’s a valuable service, and it helps people who need help,” Depasquale said.
It’s never been more expensive for drivers to make deliveries. The cost of gas in Georgia is more than $4 per gallon, at an all-time high. Depasquale makes three or four deliveries every week. He’s concerned if prices continue to skyrocket, volunteer drivers like him will drop out. This could dramatically increase his workload and pain at the pump.
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“It’s really made it a lot easier,” Depasquale said. “I’m really pleased that we have gotten enough volunteers that I’m not needed to do as many as I was doing before.”
Cross Services, Meals on Wheels’s parent company, is watching gas prices around the country. The company still has enough drivers to make deliveries, but are afraid that could change if prices stay this high.
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“Hopefully we’ll retain them,” said Cross Services Senior Services Coordinator Mary Jo Buettner. “But, again it depends on how long that price of gas stays up so high and keeps going up.”
That would be a big problem for customers like Crowder. She depends on Meals on Wheels. She and her husband are on a fixed income. If drivers like Depasquale couldn’t deliver, they would have a hard time getting the food they need.
“I don’t know what we would do,” Crowder said. “We would have to get someone to go pick up the groceries and do the bills and everything.”