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Surging gas prices leading to volunteer shortage at Silver Key Senior Services

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO)-- Gas prices are forcing some people to look hard at their driving habits. But a local nonprofit says all that pain at the pump is scaring away its volunteers.

Silver Key Senior Services relies on volunteers to help homebound seniors. The organization delivers meals, welfare checks, and crucial face-to-face time to seniors.

"Volunteers are our primary way that we're able to deliver some 500 to 600 meals a day," Derek Wilson with Silver Key says.

But the price of gas is bringing all of that to a sudden halt.

"More volunteers are saying right now, I need to take a pause," Wilson added. "The need has really become exacerbated here in the last several months."

With an average fuel price of $4.94 per gallon in Colorado Springs, Wilson says some volunteers are asking to be switched onto different duties.

The nonprofit does have a fleet of its own vehicles, but Wilson adds that for volunteers to drive those cars, it requires further screening. Additionally, if volunteers drive the fleet, the cost will be passed along to the organization, impacting even more services.

It's not just volunteers feeling the pinch, either. Many of the seniors are on fixed incomes, and Colorado Springs Utilities is just a few days away from approving yet another rate hike.

"We probably get anywhere from three to 15 calls a day to our silver line about utility assistance and needs, or the power is going to be shut off, something like that," Wilson said.

Still, Silver Key is adamant that when it comes to providing essential services, it will find a way.

"Everything that we do, it operates on the generosity of others."

But for now, when it comes to volunteers, that generosity has hit a major bump in the road.

If you're interested in volunteering for Silver Key, click here.

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Spencer Soicher

Spencer is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about him here.

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