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Kansas City nonprofit helping elderly feels impact of high gas prices

Gas prices continue to impact nonprofit that helps feed thousands of people in Kansas City
Posted at 8:22 AM, Jun 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-07 09:24:08-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Kansas City nonprofit geared towards helping older adults in need says it worries gas prices will drive away its volunteer base, while continue to hurt funding.

KC Shepherd's Center's longest running program, Meals on Wheels, saw an increase of those in need during COVID-19. The program went from serving 50 meals a week before COVID-19 to 1,200 meals after.

"Kansas City has a food insecurity problem, particularly for older adults in Kansas City. One in 12 older adults are food insecure, meaning they don't have enough healthy food to live a healthy lifestyle. Across the country, that's one in 15" said Janet Baker, Executive Director of Shepherd's Center KC, "We have a disproportionate problem with older adults not having enough healthy food in Kansas City."

The nonprofit relies on volunteers to meet the demand. Volunteers are responsible for paying for their own gas and using their own cars to make those deliveries.

One volunteer says he's committed to the cause and won't let high gas prices keep him away from serving his community.

"I will cut back on a personal standpoint because people depend on us, because they are mostly home-bound and they can't get out, and only have us once a week or twice to check on them. They look forward to their healthy meal," Johnnie Lee said.

Shepherd's Center relies on grants and donations to get by, and each year they submit a budget. The 2022 budget for gas was based on last year's $2.69 price and will only get reimbursed at the rate they submit, so the nonprofit says donations are crucial right now.

They also say they worry high gas prices will further drive up demand for their programs.

"Between medications and between food and price of gas which has really gone up... I think a lot of people have to think twice where they're gonna spend their money," Baker said.

Information on how to donate to Shepherd's Center is available on their website.