These meals help feed senior citizens, and Mike Pile, Meals On Wheels Ministry Inc. executive director and chief executive officer, said the 70,000 hours of manpower volunteers donate help the organization by saving more than $500,000 in labor costs last year.
“That $500,000 equates to us being able to serve about another 100,000 meals,” he said.
However, Pile said the agency, like other nonprofit organizations, is facing challenges in a tough economy.
“The rising gas prices have affected us with volunteers, because they are using their own vehicles and their own fuel, and many are seniors on fixed incomes,” he said.
Pile said Meals On Wheels has an annual budget of $4.5 million, which takes care of the paid staff, the 50 agency vehicles, the building and utilities and fuel costs.
Pile said the 50 vehicles use about 6,000 gallons of fuel each month, and when the gas prices go up by a dime, it costs an additional $7,200 per year.
Most of the money raised is done in Smith County, but Gregg, Henderson, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood counties also help with fundraising.
“We are real blessed that we live in a great community where people see a need and rise to take care of that need,” he said. “Shine Your Light allows people to donate money, which will benefit several organizations like ours, and that is why the campaign is important.”
Pile said Meals On Wheels always needs volunteers to deliver meals.
“It’s easy to do. You come in, get your meals and then go deliver them. But it’s not just about delivering meals. It is about social interaction with our clients and doing a daily safety check on them,” he said.
If you would like to volunteer for Meals On Wheels call 903-593-7385 or visit the organization at 3001 Robertson Road in Tyler,