KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knoxville non-profit Mobile Meals is in need of more volunteer drivers. A little over 100 meals a day are delivered directly to seniors over 60 in the Knoxville area and the need continues to grow.

With more seniors at home beginning next month as summer begins to wind down, Mobile Meals is calling for more volunteer drivers to deliver food. The reality of ever-rising prices, especially fuel for cars and trucks, can be a detriment for some on the volunteer driving teams. However, many of the drivers say there is a lot of satisfaction for those who give their time delivering meals and who take time meeting and talking with seniors on their route.

“This is the highlight of my week. These people are just delightful to deliver to and they appreciate you,” said Carol Dalby, a 9-year volunteer.

Another volunteer driver enjoyed their experience with working in Mobile Meals.

“Best job I’ve ever had and the lowest paying job I’ve ever had. I mean it. I love this,” said Ken Badal, a volunteer driver.

However, with inflation across the country at a 40-year high and some gas prices at an all-time high, the cost for drivers to deliver meals has also increased.

“I’m sure gas prices have put a crimp on a lot of people trying to volunteer because it is expensive,” said Eric Friedline, a volunteer driver.

To deliver the food, Mobile Meals depends on its volunteer force, dozens of them are needed every day and next month a shortage of drivers is predicted.

“As the summer wraps up, as we go into the fall semester, we see a shortage of volunteers. So, if anyone has any time and a vehicle in August we can really use your help,” said Sara Keel, CAC community engagement manager.

The cost of food prepared and packaged at Mobile Meals Kitchen has also spiked due to inflation. So, fundraisers are held to offset rising prices.

“We are estimating we will need about $50,000 additional to serve the same number of people at the high level of service that we provide,” said Keel.

Volunteer drivers do receive a small reimbursement for mileage. In addition, those on the job are encouraging others to help out.

“I’d say, give it a whirl. Come on down here. They’re always looking for people. Give it a try. I think you’ll like it,” said Friedline.

Keel said volunteers drive over 1,500 miles across Knox County every day and 62 cents per mile is reimbursed.

“It’s just a great way to volunteer and serve the community. We love the people that we meet. We actually do a route on Mondays. We’re just filling in today,” said Nancy Pearson, a 10-year volunteer.

To sign up to be a volunteer driver, knoxseniors.org/mobile.