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Rising gas prices affect delivery operations for nonprofits

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Posted at 5:26 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-06 15:01:23-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Rising gas prices are directly impacting daily operations for nonprofits that travel to offer their services.

Local organizations like Kanbe’s Markets drive hundreds of miles monthly on company budget to deliver fresh goods.

Health Corner Store Program Manager, Henry Noth, oversees the deliveries for the nonprofit He and his team travel to 39 stores each day to drop off fresh produce for community members that need it most.

Things started to change as the cost of providing help started going up.

Desperate times called for desperate measures: When diesel skyrocketed above five dollars and as of a month ago, they operate on a limited schedule.

“Since I started here two years ago, we’ve been delivering every day of the week including the weekends,” Noth said. “Recently with the rise in fuel costs and food costs and kind of just cost of operations in general, we’ve cut back to five delivery days a week.”

Last year, they spent $2,478 on gas during the month of May. This year, they just spent $3,677 on gas during May, an increase of 32 percent difference in just one year.

The team is now making fewer trips to their furthest drop off locations or encouraging their partnering agencies to pick it up themselves. Management tried to pick days with the least amount of foot traffic to make sure that it does not affect access.

When it comes to establishing new locations, Noth says they are looking to open them along it existing routes.

“It’s well over $100 to fill up our diesel tanks — it’s probably close to $150-160," he said. "We fill each of those three trucks multiple times a week. It’s definitely a large piece of our operating cost and it’s only getting bigger.”

Carole Lillis with the Redemptorist Social Services Center says without regular shipments from Kanbe’s Markets, they would not have the goods to distribute. The nonprofit has blown through its yearly budget already due to inflation.

Julie McCaw, executive director at the center, says the number of working people who are poor have doubled, meaning the line of services provided at the food pantry cannot be sustainable with a break at the source.

“Keeping it at least five days is our goal for now,” Noth said. “We just kind of have to make these decisions where we can and save where we can.”