Gas Prices and Charities

By: James Steiner
By: James Steiner

If you are feeling the pressure of higher gas prices because of Hurricane Katrina...local charities are doing the same.
Many organizations have had to restrict pick-ups of donations because of rising fuel costs.
Saint Vincent's, the Salvation Army, and the Food Bank...are three of the larger charity organizations in Washoe County.
For example, Saint Vincent's helps out 20-thousand people a month...through its food pantry and thrift shop.
The group has seen a 73-percent increase in its fuel costs this past year.
That's 546 dollars it could have spent on health and human services...instead of gas.
Sandy Isham, Development and Community Relations manager, says "What we're trying to do is consolidate pick-ups and improve efficiency to save money wherever possible."
The Salvation Army is also consolidating its pick-up locations.
The organization has seen a 20-percent increase in its fuel budget.
The cost of transportation has led to using less and less employees, down from 79 to 58, this year.
Workers say they can no longer transfer money from payroll savings over to gas...and if prices continue to go up.
Major Tom Petersen of the Salvation Army said, "we don't operate the thrift stores anymore. They support our drug and alcohol program. 70 men are housed in recovery. The rehab program closes. Worse case scenario if fuel prices don't go down."
The situation is NOT as bleak for the food bank of Northern Nevada.
The organization saw a 38-percent increase in fuel costs over the past year.
Programs now just cost more...and workers have stepped up their fundraising efforts.
But, they don't know if the budget will cover all the extra expenses.
However, none of the three agencies say they will stop picking up donations...because that would go against their mission of serving the community.


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