Gas, food prices affecting Meals on Wheels for seniors

May 6, 2011 4:19:54 PM PDT
With prices teetering around $4 a gallon for gasoline across the country, a lot of Americans are making sacrifices. Gas prices have gotten so high that hundreds of elderly residents in our area who depend on Meals on Wheels could be the ones paying the price.

Five days a week, meals arrive at the homes of some 500 seniors in Fort Bend and Waller counties. Meals on Wheels has long fed those whose Social Security is all they have.

"Kind of balance it so we can have medication and meals and it has helped me a lot," said Ziola Sanchez.

So that's why one modest hot meal a day is so important. But the cost of providing and delivering them is going up along with food and gas prices.

"In the past, you know there's been issues with fuel, but they have never hit us all at the same time," said Manuela Arroyas of Fort Bend Meals on Wheels.

It's also affecting transportation to and from Fort Bend senior centers, but the Meals on Wheels program is most vulnerable. State and federal money that account for much of the budget may be reduced by 25 percent this year, so no new clients are being added.

"In the last couple of months, we have had 50 people on the wait list. Everyday we get calls -- we get five or 10 calls a day," said Arroyos.

Seniors like Sanchez will continue getting meals; it's those that are in need but cannot who worry Arroyos the most.

"It's difficult to know that when we leave, there are some out there who don't have food," Arroyos said.

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