BALTIMORE - It is 11 am sharp and the volunteers at Meals on Wheels are headed out to their deliveries; about 250 to 300 volunteers to deliver hundreds more meals a day throughout central Maryland.
It is a tall order battling to keep up with even higher gas prices.
"We might be hitting that tough spot come the middle of summer."
Because as Meals on Wheels organizer Debbie Brown tells us, its volunteers, mostly senior citizens themselves have to pay for their own gas.
A dedication of the heart, and now more so of the wallet.
"If you look at our volunteers, the average age is 77 years old, so you are looking at retired people, those living on a fixed income. But again we are fortunate because so many of them truly believe in the mission. They don't want to have to leave us but maybe they cut back on their availability," said Brown
And the organization can ill afford that.
So with at least 15 hundred homebound Marylanders depending on the meals every day, rising gas prices are forcing the charity to focus on a different set of wheels.
More meals are being packed up, strapped on and biked off.
Cyclists are now a new target of a recruiting effort by Meals on Wheels to combat four dollar plus a gallon gas by attracting younger more mobile volunteers like Kathy Worthington.
"Oh it's a great idea and more and more people are biking downtown so, more folks have their bikes downtown and it's easy to do. You can deliver three or four meals in one unit in a half an hour. I feel great about it."
Worthington is currently one of only about five or six volunteers delivering the bites on bikes.
A number Meals on Wheels hopes to grow as the temperatures and gas continue to rise.
"I think we are always trying to spin our wheels to come up with ways to either fit the need that we need or the economy at that time," said Brown.
Bike delivery is just the latest spoke in the Meals on Wheels fleet, one it hopes catches on as the organization begins to promote the concept with bike stores and riding groups throughout central Maryland; doing its best to relieve the needy and those volunteering to provide for them.
Meals on Wheels says it will also reconfigure routes to make it easier for bikers to deliver meals on their way to work or lunch breaks.
If you think you may want to get involved, give them a call at 443-573-0940