gas prices

Soaring Gas Prices Affecting Local Volunteerism

NBCUniversal, Inc.

According to AAA, Thursday’s national average for gas sits at $4.97 a gallon. That’s nearly two dollars more than the national average this time a year ago.

It’s touched almost every part of our daily lives, including volunteerism.

Sarah Nejdl is CEO and Founder of Families to Freedom, a nonprofit that helps victims of domestic violence. They stay in operation thanks to volunteer drivers, who deliver items and get victims to safety.

“If we don’t have volunteer drivers, things grind to a halt,” said Nejdl.

With gas prices at a national average of just under $5 a gallon, she faces a harsh reality while calculating reimbursements for miles traveled.

“There’s so many trips that we’ve done. There’s so many drivers that I need to reimburse for,” she said. “There are many miles that our volunteers have been grateful to put on, and that gas price is higher and higher.”

She stayed after hours and sat down at her desk to count the cost of keeping the organization’s lifeline going. She tallied 29 trips. There was no way around it. The budget doesn’t lie.

“It’s $559.20 just for one month for all these 29. And that’s just that one little component. Everything we do involves gas. Everything,” Nejdl said.

In Texas, Thursday’s average sat at $4.62 per gallon. One year ago, the state average was $2.73 per gallon.

At Meals on Wheels, volunteer drivers are also the heartbeat of the mission.

“They know that without them a lot of these people would not eat every day,” said Philip Gonzalez, who is over marketing and public relations at Meals on Wheels.

Gonzalez said they have some 4,000 volunteers who mitigate soaring gas prices by choosing routes close to home.

“Most of them are staying in their own neighborhood so they’re not driving far, which makes it that much easier when they are delivering,” he said.

Ultimately, Najdl said she’s in survival mode and hopes something gives soon.

“Gas prices affect everything that we do,” she said. “Every single thing that we do.”

For more information on Families to Freedom click here.

For more information on Meals on Wheels click here.

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