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Publish Date: 4/15/2005

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Volunteer Beverly Clark, left, of Longmont delivers a hot meal to Pearl Fick of Longmont on Wednesday as part of the Meals on Wheels program. Times-Call/Hunter McRae

Inner Drive


Longmont might not be Aspen, where recent gas prices have risen to more than $3 a gallon, but at $2.15 per gallon — the price Wednesday at Safeway on Ken Pratt Boulevard — petroleum costs are getting steep for most Longmont residents.

Fortunately, volunteers of Longmont’s Meals on Wheels program are willing to rise above soaring prices to continue servicing the community.

“Even if the price of gas was $5 a gallon, I would still deliver Meals on Wheels,” said volunteer Tom Clark.

Clark and his wife, Beverly, have volunteered with the program for the past four years, but unlike fluctuating gas prices, they have never wavered in their devotion to Meals on Wheels.

“We enjoy what we do and the people whom we deliver to,” Clark said. “The price of gas hasn’t been an issue because what we do is so rewarding.”

Pat Birt has volunteered with Meals on Wheels for three years, delivering meals to developmentally disabled individuals in need.

“The price of gas has certainly affected me, but it isn’t enough to stop me from participating in the program,” Birt said.

Birt clocks in the highest mileage of all the volunteers in the program, averaging about 500 miles a week and traveling four routes stretching into Niwot. She works for Imagine!, a Lafayette organization that provides services to local residents with cognitive, developmental, physical and health-related needs.

Part of her work with Imagine! is to bring developmentally disabled individuals with her on Meals on Wheels trips, often requiring that she drive into Boulder and surrounding towns.

“Some weeks are more than others, but I haven’t considered giving up on the program,” said Birt.

Meals on Wheels program director Karla Hale said she understands that rising gas prices may be difficult for some volunteers, but she is willing to offer compensation.

“It hasn’t come up yet, but if our volunteers are coming up short because of gas prices, we will find a way to compensate them,” Hale said.

Meals on Wheels gathers five days a week at the Senior Center on Longs Peak Avenue. Volunteers usually work one day a week, but individuals are encouraged to volunteer as much or as little as they want.

“We are appreciative of our volunteers,” Hale said, “and willing to work with them to make their experience a pleasant one.”

For more information on Meals on Wheels, all Karla Hale at 303-772-0540.

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