Gas shortage disrupts Columbia Meals on Wheels schedule

Gas shortage disrupts Columbia Meals on Wheels schedule

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - For Meals on Wheels to operate, you need the wheels.

The ransomware attack of the Colonial Pipeline has slowed the flow of gasoline in the Southeast, presenting challenges to those looking to get their cars filled.

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Non-profit Senior Resources relies on volunteers (with gassed-up cars) to deliver food to homebound seniors.

Executive Director Andrew Boozer said the Meals on Wheels program traditionally relies on 50 to 60 volunteers to get the meals out, but a lack of gas meant 20 to 25% of his team had to call out.

As a result, the Meals on Wheels program canceled its routes on Friday and Monday.

“If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s we need to be adaptable, we need to be flexible, we need to have plans, and we need to be ready to throw those plans in the garbage and make a new plan,” he said.

Boozer said his team had to front-load two extra meals on Thursday with the hopes of resuming daily routes on Tuesday. The gas shortage came at a time when the non-profit is already taking on extra demand. Boozer said traditionally 400 meals are served each day (Monday through Friday).

Currently, he said that number is closer to 600 (and was as high as 800 over the fall).

“If there’s a need for seniors in the community here in the Midlands, our volunteers, our staff, our partners are ready to step up and meet that need, another round of evidence for that this week,” he said.

The gas shortage did not cripple Senior Resources’ work at its headquarters on Friday however. In conjunction with KFC and Harvest Hope Foodbank, the non-profit gave chicken and other supplies to its volunteers who are in need.

Boozer encouraged anyone interested in volunteering to contact the non-profit through its website.

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