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Rising gas prices add challenges for local non-profits

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Posted at 10:06 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 23:20:23-04

Local non-profits are battling soaring prices at the pump as they work to serve the community and keep programs going.

"We're paying a lot more than we expected to in gas," said Scott Marshall, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin VP of development and communications.

With a fleet of trucks picking food up at grocery stores and delivering items to food pantries on a daily basis, Marshall said the historically high cost of gas is hitting the non-profit hard.

"Since the price increase of gas, we've spent over $50,000 more than we expected to outside of our budget for gas," Marshall said.

It's an added expense Marshall said they can't avoid: Not filling up the gas tanks - or filling up less often - means some people in the community wouldn't get the food they need.

To get by, Marshall said the organization had to dip into its savings to cover the extra costs and increased need they're seeing right now.

“We’re here to be able to provide that food so they don’t have to go without while they’re trying to manage other areas of their life that are impacted by the increased gas prices," Marshall said. "It really becomes a necessity to just bite the bullet and pay the extra money for the gas."

The Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay is experiencing similar issues.

"We are definitely seeing the affect of the gas prices at the pump," said Nan Pahl, Salvation Army of Greater Green Bay director of social services.

Pahl said volunteers go out on daily donation pickups, appointments and bread runs to aid their meal program, tasks that are more costly amid these increased gas prices.

In addition to a higher overhead from transportation costs, Pahl said they're also taking more requests for gas vouchers, which aren't covering nearly as much as before.

"We provide you with what use to be a tank of gas, because it was a $25 gas voucher," Pahl said. "So even our gas voucher is not stretching nearly as far as it use to."

The vouchers are designed for people who are unemployed and going to a job interview, for example. But Pahl said more people with jobs are asking for them recently, which she said has created a gap in the need.

"We just have to hope that pretty soon the gas prices are going to go down, or we have some generous donors who will help us with some of those gas costs."

Neither non-profit plans to cut services because of these higher costs.

According to AAA, the national average cost of gas is at $4.72 a gallon. Wisconsin's average is 12 cents less than that. AAA lists gas in Brown County at $4.56 per gallon.