Area Volunteer Groups Feeling Pinched at Pump

Higher gas prices are not only affecting our budgets but they're hurting some local volunteer groups as well.

These lean times have organizations like the Red Cross in need of new volunteers.

It's a calling Shirley Anderson has had for more than 20 years in places from Burton, to Texas City and Guam, serving as a Red Cross volunteer.

She's the only disaster response volunteer they've got for Washington County.

"I know people who say I'd really like to do that but I can't keep filling my car with gas and there are people who have dropped out because of the cost of travel," said Anderson, who lives outside Burton.

She volunteers around 20 hours a month for the Red Cross and sometimes drives more than 60 miles all on her own dime. Having to drive greater distances more often could soon be a problem.

"I would probably cut back myself," she said.

While some organizations like the Red Cross are begging for more volunteers other volunteer groups are actually seeing an increase in numbers despite the higher gas prices.

William Ray has been the Meals On Wheels Director in Bryan for 21 years and says volunteerism has gone up since last fall.

"They use their own vehicle their own gas and their own time you can't find that many places and they come back week after week. We've had some that have been here 35 years," said Ray.

Meals On Wheels has phased out some of their larger vehicles for more fuel efficient ones and they are even helping out drivers with the skyrocketing costs of filing up.

"We got a special donation to buy $1,000 worth of gift cards we're trying to give them out. We've given out some, some volunteers refuse them some volunteers take them and buy things for the people they serve," said Ray.

"I see it as a Christian mission. Christ taught us to not only look after ourselves but to look after our fellow man and it's very rewarding for me," added Shirley Anderson.

Bringing relief to others despite having no relief at the pump.

Meals On Wheels serves 600 meals a day in the four county area while the Brazos Valley Branch of the American Red Cross responds to at least one to two disasters each week.

If you'd like more information on volunteering with either organization, see their contact information below:

American Red Cross Heart of Texas Chapter
(979) 776-8279

Meals On Wheels
(979) 823-2203

KBTX-TV Channel 3 4141 E. 29th Street Bryan, TX 77802 Phone: (979) 846-7777 Fax: (979) 846-1490 News Fax: (979) 846-1888
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