BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – Rapidly increasing gas prices are threatening to take vital services away from seniors in Raleigh County

The Raleigh County Commission on Aging provides three major services to seniors in the county. They provide transportation services to help seniors get to doctor’s appointments, they send nurses and social workers out in the community to check on seniors at home, and they run a meal delivery program, delivering meals to more than 300 seniors every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

But high gas prices make all three of these programs, particularly the meal delivery service, hard to maintain.

Executive Director Jack Tanner said the commission on aging just doesn’t have the budget to be spending nearly 5 dollars a gallon on gas.

“350 to 400 meals a day that we prepare,” said Tanner. “It’s that volume and when you increase your operating cost 17, 18, 20 percent, it creates some real crises.”

Tanner said the commission on aging is still able to provide transportation and meal delivery services for now, with the help of funds from the American Recovery Act, President Biden’s stimulus bill to help businesses recoup funds lost during the pandemic.

But with those payments set to expire next year, and no relief at the pumps, Tanner said he’s not sure how long the commission will be able to continue without cutting services.

“In a very short period of time in the future, most of those (payments) are going to be expiring, and I don’t see plans to increase any of that right now,” said Tanner. “And that’s when we’re going to start suffering, and I’m not sure what we’ll be able to do.”