TOBYHANNA, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The rise in gas prices is impacting drivers across the country but a nonprofit in the Poconos says it’s one of the reasons why they’re short of volunteers.

For the first time in ten years, the Feeding Families Ministry Food Pantry had to close because they didn’t have enough volunteers. The founder then reached out to eyewitness news to spread the word that they need help.

“Our bank of people is tired and they need help and they need support,” said Diane Tayburn, owner and founder of Feeding Families Ministry.

Since 2011 feeding families ministry has strived to alleviate hunger in Monroe, Wayne, and Pike counties.

For the first time since then, the nonprofit had to close its doors last week due to a lack of volunteers. Founder Diane Rayburn tells Eyewitness News part of the reason is high gas prices and inflation.

“Some people have to make the choice between getting back and forth to work or running errands. Doing things they need to do with the price of gas so they have to give up something and usually we’re the thing they give up, they can’t come out to volunteer,” explained Tayburn.

The nonprofit has around 25 volunteers but Tayburn says they’ve been averaging a dozen new families every week just last year they helped out 55,000.

“A helping hand comes a long way, you know and if we get one and one adds up, we’ll have probably like more than half of the community being serviced so that’s all we ask you know,” said Shastidy Garcia, a volunteer.

volunteers Garcia and Stacy Reed say giving back to this organization makes it worthwhile – despite the hike in prices.

“For a while, it was just my son and me, I was on food stamps so this is my way of giving back and now they’ve become my family,” stated Stacey Reed, another volunteer.

Those collecting their meals for the week are thankful for the ones lending a helping hand.

“I just appreciate everything they’re doing for us. It’s such a big help, it’s a wonderful help and they need to continue doing it. The price of food is going up, gas is going up, but my minimum wage is not, so sure enough this is helpful for me,” explained Jacqueline Jones, from Cresco

The food pantry is open twice a week and the founder says it gets even busier in the summertime – anyone who’s interested in volunteering can head to our website pahomepage.Com for more information.

If we wish to learn more about the Feeding Families mission head over to their website.