Long Beach Meals on Wheels seeking donations amid rising food and gas costs

The Long Beach Meals on Wheels executive director says the costs for food, packaging, transportation and more have gone up.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Meals on Wheels has been serving the Long Beach community for 51 years.

Volunteers serve homebound, older adults and those whose disabilities make it hard for them to prepare their own meals or go to the store.

The volunteers work Monday to Friday serving about 500 clients each day, but their job is much more than that.

Meals on Wheels has a client support program that brings essential home goods to clients.

They also have a friendly visitor program.

"The individuals we are serving are obviously isolated and alone. They suffer from depression because most of them, the only person they see during the day is the Meals on Wheels volunteer, so the social interaction is very important for the people we're serving," said Bill Cruikshank, Executive Director of Meals on Wheels in Long Beach.

The people they serve say they're so grateful for the meals and the companionship.

"I call them my meals on angels because they're my angels," said Mary Mendoza, a Meals on Wheels client.

But the work that Meals on Wheels does is facing major challenges. They're seeking donations because of rising costs.

"Food costs, packaging costs, transportation, gas prices. We had a 10% increase in our food costs from our vendor that prepares our food," Cruikshank said.

It makes it increasingly difficult for Long Beach Meals on Wheels to do their work, going door to door to make sure people are fed a full lunch and dinner.

"When I'm able, walk up the hill to get something and cart it back which is what I use to do, but as I got older it got more and more difficult," said Carl James Orange, a Meals on Wheels client.

To donate or sign up for assistance, go to mowlb.org.

Meals on Wheels will also be hosting a wheels for meals car show fundraiser happening July 16.

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