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Meals on Wheels Passing Rising Cost of Fuel on to the Invalid
As gas prices spike to $4 a gallon across the nation, the Meals on Wheels program is looking for ways to pass rising fuel and food costs on to their invalid clients.
Originally dedicated to delivering hot meals every day, seven days a week to each of their senior beneficiaries, local chapters of the organization have begun to explore a variety of cost-saving measures designed to protect their bottom line, including cutting deliveries down to every other day and replacing more expensive items such as meat and vegetables with instant noodles and sunflower seeds.
"The sad fact is that most of our clients can't tell what they're eating. You could literally feed them a shoe," said LifeCare spokesman Henry Stewart.
In order to make ends meet in Los Angeles, Meals on Wheels in that city has cut down the number of free meals it provides the medically housebound in favor of a for-pay delivery service of liquor to individuals who have been prohibited from leaving their homes by a court of law.
"Without access to alcohol many of these people will suffer painful, debilitating withdrawal symptoms," remarked Meals on Wheels-LA Vice President Carol Manning.
As of last week, Meals on Wheels Chicago began skipping the homes of some of their more overweight clients while Meals on Wheels St. Louis discontinued all of its deliveries in favor of serving meals at their downtown headquarters.
"Our food and portion sizes have not changed. Our clients will just have to come down here and pay a reasonable price," said center coordinator Regina Harris.
Meanwhile, for many of the organization's volunteer drivers, the solution to the problem of rising fuel prices seems all too obvious.
"I quit," said former Meals on Wheels deliverer Michael Jennings.
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