Economy has Meals on Wheels Close to Shutting Down - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Economy has Meals on Wheels Close to Shutting Down

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YAKIMA, Wa.- Meals on Wheels has been serving meals for over 30 years. High gas prices, costly food, and a tight economy have put the business $25,000 over its budget.

"It's serious...if we don't get financial assistance ... we'll have to close the second week of December," said Jerry Baldoz, an employee for Meals on Wheels.

Meals on Wheels is a donation based company. Each plate of food costs around seven dollars to buy, make and deliver, and this year donations are down $8,000 from last year.

"Our donation rate has been just between 90 and 95 cents and it helps," said Baldoz.

But not enough to save the company and employees are worried about their customers

"It breaks my heart. We've got a lot of elderly seniors who depend on us," said Baldoz.

"Even though I'm legally blind, I live alone and without meals on wheels, I probably wouldn't be able to do that," said Howard Shaw, who's been using Meals on Wheels for a year.

Employees are taking actions. They say they're looking into cheaper products and cutting down meals.

"We may reduce to 3 or 4 days a week," said Baldoz.

But the bottom line is without enough money to operate, they'll be forced to shut down this December.

"Financial donations are definitely needed," said Baldoz.