Constant dollars

Gas Prices Impact Meals on Wheels Volunteers

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) – We know the saying, no good deed goes unpunished. Now these gas prices are making it harder for volunteers in the Mid South to use their own car.

Those who participate in MIFA’s Meals on Wheels program in Memphis believe they will be able to retain their current volunteers, but gas prices may prevent new volunteers from joining.

Steve Jett and his wife travel three times a week to the Memphis Inter Faith Association on Vance to pack meals and leave to deliver them to residents confined to their homes. As part of the MIFA Meals on Wheels, volunteers use their own vehicles on the routes.

For Jett, the round trip is about ten miles.

“The routes we take occasionally are much longer if you take routes in Whitehaven, Frayser or Soulsville,” Jett said. “These routes are much more driving intensive.”

With gas nearly five dollars a gallon in Tennessee, the miles and the dollars add up. But the Jett family’s commitment to this cause remains constant.

“My wife grew up with food and housing insecurity,” Jett said. “She is a nurse practitioner by trade, so she could volunteer in other ways, but food insecurity is very important to her.

Meals on Wheels organizers say dedication is what keeps their volunteers going. Now they fear fuel prices will prevent new volunteers from signing up.

Currently, MIFA says it needs more volunteers for the program. Many volunteers pick up multiple routes to cover.

While Jett’s commitment is unwavering, he thinks of ways to cut costs while continuing to give back.

“I have a bigger car, but my wife has a small Honda Fit that she often uses for deliveries. We were discussing that we could use the Fit more as we notice the gas difference,” Jett said.

It’s small changes that make a big difference.

There are calls for Governor Bill Lee to temporarily suspend the gasoline tax in Tennessee. His office said he had other cost-saving measures in place like a grocery tax moratorium, and there was no plan for the same on the grocery tax. gasoline, at least for now.

His office said, “Governor Lee has proposed the 30-day food tax suspension to provide direct relief to the people of Tennessee as the national cost of living continues to climb. We have found that waiving the grocery tax is the most effective and efficient way to directly reduce costs for individuals and families living in Tennessee.

Tennessee state and local grocery sales taxes will be waived throughout August 2022, beginning August 1 and ending August 31 at 11:59 p.m. Each household is unique, but to calculate the savings, the state grocery tax is 4% and local grocery taxes vary.

In Shelby County, there is an additional 2.25% sales tax on groceries, and an additional 0.5% in the city of Memphis. Click here to read more.

Last week, the Governor also signed into law a bill to suspend the state’s annual vehicle registration fee for the next calendar year: “This will provide an additional $120 million in tax relief. These two initiatives are a starting point, and in the months ahead, we will continue to examine options to ease the burden on Tennesseans amid historic inflation.

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