High gas prices impacting Valley charities

FRESNO, Calif.

Businesses that rely on the goodwill of others are re-thinking the way they get around town.

The Community Food Bank relies on trucks like these. They bring food in and they drive it right back out to people in need. These days, high gas prices mean every mile counts.

Lately, gasoline prices have changed the way non-profits operate.

Rick Palermo says solicitations are done over the phone and trips are consolidated..

"We do retail pickups so we try to route those more efficiently so we don't cross over. Really trying to find as much efficiency in our routes as we can," Palermo said.

Because gas prices are up, food costs are up. Community Food Bank is trying to provide fresh produce, but these days it's proving more and more expensive for those donating and for those collecting.

"The way we get food in some of the shipping costs we have to pay to get donations here. For big donations that are beyond our capacity," Palermo said.

All of it ends up affecting the people who need it most.

"Everything's taking affect with the economy. More people are out of work or losing homes they're coming down here. Even the working poor are showing up with their families," Paul Stack of Poverello House said.

The Poverello House dishes out about 1200 meals a day. 80 percent of its funding is from donations, which they need to pick up, which of course costs them in gas.

"Our gas bills can run as it goes up anywhere from 27 to 3 thousand a month just in gas," Stack said.

Stack says like the Food Bank, they're consolidating routes, but if someone calls with a large donation no one has the option of turning it down.

"Especially with meat products or food like that we have to go get it we have to get it to the people here, even if we have to cut back on something else to get out there that's what we'll have to do," Stack said.

While we all hope the pain at the pump subsides, those who depend on non- profits find themselves hopefully dependent on an economic upswing.

Both the Poverello House and the Community Food Bank in Fresno County say they're doing everything possible to make sure meals are still provided, even if it means they cut other things from their budgets.

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