Out running errands the other day, I passed a Perkie van heading out to do their daily run.
Perkie is the program that runs five days a week to Provo and back taking local cancer patients to their radiation appointments. The service run on donations and grants and doesn't charge for their service.
I had to fill my tank up with gas and as the pump dial soared to over 60 bucks, I began to wonder how Perkie and other transportation programs were faring as gas prices spiral out of control.
I called Nancy Bentley, the director of Active Re-Entry, the agency that runs Perkie to ask that question. She told me that her monthly gas bill for that program alone had jumped from $250 a month six months ago to a whooping $832 dollars last month and gas prices were still climbing.
The good news in all this is that they can still run the program. Eastern Utah Credit Union and other groups have stepped forward to ensure this community service does not falter.
The bad news is that if the direction of the increases does not slow soon, then more help from the community will be needed quickly.
Since we don't have all the medical services that we need here locally and there isn't mass transit to get to even the services that are available locally, many need to rely on programs like Perkie, Care-a-Van and the senior center to get them where they need to be.
Many who use these services are on extremely fixed incomes and cannot help absorb the rising fuel costs. It is encouraging to know that we have a community that keeps these programs viable.
As I speak of our community, I not only mean Carbon County residents, but those generous residents of Emery County as well. Emery is in the process of doing fundraising activities to help with the cost of gas for Perkie and the county's programs donate the use of vans to cover two of the days.
Bentley told me that rising costs have affected other areas of her programs and many other agencies she works hand and hand with are dealing with cuts to their services as well. This comes at a time when demand for social service programs, like the food bank, continue to rise.
We all are experiencing the pinch of inflation in every aspect of our existence. It may become easy to wrap ourselves up in our own little struggle to get by.
But now, more than ever, we need to make sure we are finding ways to help the programs that help others.
It is what makes our community strong and vibrant.