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Drivers feeling the heat of record gas prices, local volunteers undeterred

Some South Bend gas stations exceeded the national average for regular gasoline.
Some South Bend gas stations exceeded the national average for regular gasoline.(16 News Now)
Published: May. 10, 2022 at 6:51 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Michiana motorists are ready for a break at the pump after the national average for regular-grade gasoline hit a record-high $4.37 per gallon. Gas was $4.39 at some stations near downtown South Bend.

“These gas prices are ridiculous, man. It’s like we gotta drive around just to find like the cheapest gas to get,” remarked Derrick Sims, of South Bend. “Our car used to cost $40. Now it’s like $60 to fill up our tank.”

Mandie Leitz, of Mishawaka, fears summer travel will be restricted due to gas prices.

“It’s probably going to start skyrocketing, and it’s going to be harder to see people that we love or want to hang out or see attractions,” said Leitz.

Meanwhile, volunteer drivers at Meals on Wheels are undeterred by crippling fuel costs.

“That’s not a major factor, no,” said longtime volunteer Roger Blaine.

Blaine’s sentiment is shared by countless fellow volunteers, according to George Hawthorne, director of nutrition and transportation at Real Services.

“All our volunteers continue to come in here, regardless of gas prices,” said Hawthorne.

Volunteers for the Real Services-run program that serves 400 seniors daily are offered a small stipend to defray gas costs, but Hawthorne said those drivers stay true to the meaning of “volunteer.”

“When they volunteer, they truly consider this a volunteer opportunity, so they don’t take the money. They want the money to go directly back into the meals that provide services for our clients.” he said.

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