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Meals on Wheels' dedicated volunteers

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Nationally, prices at the pump are putting a squeeze on an already tight budget for some Meals on Wheels programs, forcing them to cut back on deliveries. But the News on 6's Rick Wells found out that's not a problem in Tulsa, because our volunteer drivers are a particularly dedicated group of people.

It’s "Hats off to Volunteers", Meals on Wheels spring volunteer appreciation and awards event. Everyone was encouraged to wear a funny hat. More than 2,700 meals on wheels volunteers prepare pack and deliver more than 5,000 meals to elderly and homebound people in the Tulsa area every week.

The meals get delivered in the volunteer's personal vehicle. They provide the wheels, they buy the gas. Gas prices climbing above a $1.90 a gallon could put the squeeze on the volunteer spirit, but so far it hasn't. "Nobody's quit because of the price that I know of." Jo Ann Becker's been at this more than 20 years; she says she gets much more out of this than she puts in.

Even the people who prepare and package the meals have to get to the volunteer site on their own. Volunteer Jean Wagner: "The price of gasoline is not important to me."

So a room full of volunteers in funny hats all of whom have no doubt complained about the price at the pump, yet none we found has given up volunteering. Volunteer John Madden: "The delivery of the meal is so much more important than the ten miles of gasoline that might be used."

The price of not delivering the meal he said would be much higher. The price of gas may not be affecting current volunteers, but it may be discouraging new recruits.

Meals on Wheels always needs volunteers. If you'd like more information, call them at 627-4103.
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