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Meal-Delivering Charities Suffering From Skyrocketing Gas Prices

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Local charities that deliver food for the sick and elderly have been struggling to cope with rising gas prices. (Credit: CBS 2)

Local charities that deliver food for the sick and elderly have been struggling to cope with rising gas prices. (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Higher gas prices are hurting consumers, but they’re also rippling through the economy in other ways. The pain at the pump is hitting some charities especially hard.

It’s not just consumers who are paying more for gasoline these days. Charities that deliver meals to the sick and elderly are feeling the squeeze as well, reports CBS 2’s John Metaxas.

It’s a vital lifeline for those in need, and now it’s tied to the price of gas.

“We’re really feeling the effects in the last couple of months, as the prices have gone up and up,” Karen Pearl, of God’s Love We Deliver, said.

At Manhattan-based God’s Love We Deliver, which is on pace to bring one million meals to patients this year, gasoline costs are up 63 percent when you factor in higher gas and increased clientele.

“It will cost our organization more than $40,000 more this year than it did last year, which is a huge hit,” Pearl said.

In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, it’s been a huge hit for Citymeals-on-Wheels, where the cost of gas for a run of 13,000 dry meals to the elderly has spiked.

“Last year, a given project would be $300. I just paid a bill of $500,” Citymeals-on-Wheels’ Magda Ortiz said.

It’s not just gasoline that’s more expensive for charities – food prices have also increased.

A typical holiday food package includes such staples as vegetables, tuna fish, powdered milk and even instant coffee. Last year, the package cost $18. This year, it costs $21.

Add those price spikes to other raw material increases – like a 70 percent rise in the cost of cardboard packaging – and it’s got some charities running scared.

“The greatest fear is that we won’t be able to serve as many meals,” Ortiz said.

The organizations are hoping their donors, who also are frustrated by the increased cost of gas, can help make up the difference.

God’s Love We Deliver said it’s drivers log about 14,000 miles on roads every month.

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