Are High Gas Prices Affecting Programs Like Meals On Wheels? - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Jonesboro, AR -- Lauren Payne Reports

Are High Gas Prices Affecting Programs Like Meals On Wheels?

April 27, 2005 -- Posted at 8:30 p.m CDT

JONESBORO-- "The doctors say if you go to bed, you'll stay there. Well, I aim to stay active as long as I can," said Robert Burns.

Robert Burns goes to the St. Bernard's Senior Life Center everyday to play games, and mingle.

He says that's what keeps him young.

"I feel like I am sixteen," said Burns.

He relies heavily on the transportation by the St. Bernard's Senior Life Center to pick him up, drop him off, and feed him a warm meal.

"It means a whole lot to us--I don't know what we would do if they closed that up," said Burns.

"We do know how important it is getting the food everyday--not only getting the food, but getting to see the driver, and for the socialization," said Director of St. Bernard's Senior Life Center, Becky McDaniel-Ewart.

The ever increasing gas prices are a concern for the 8 senior life centers throughout Craighead and Poinsett counties.

They provide transportation for things like doctor's visits, group meals, and trips to the grocery store.

"In Jonesboro alone,  we have anywhere from 150 to 165 meals we deliver daily," said McDaniel-Ewart.

They ask for a dollar and a quarter donation, but don't always get it.

"When I did the budget this year,  I jumped from a $1.40 a gallon to a $1.80 a gallon because I  thought that would be plenty," said McDaniel-Ewart.

Money from donations and fundraisers, specifically for gas, are helping to keep the program running.

"It's something we have to do, so we are just going to have to be more ingenuous about figuring out things about how we can help these people and still pay our budget," said McDaniel-Ewart.

Mr. Burns says the interaction he gets at the senior center is just what the doctor ordered. 

You can make donations through the St. Bernard's Development Foundation here in Jonesboro.

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