Families cutting food budgets to fill gas tanks

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By Ricky Maranon

EUGENE, Ore.-- The choice between a gallon of milk and a gallon of gas is getting tougher.

As the price of gas rises, so does the price of food, and some families say that the the food budget is the only thing left to cut when it comes to trying to make ends meet.

Some families are taking saving a buck to the next level, from clipping multiple coupons, driving to stores across town, and even changing their diets just to save up money for gas.

"We do a lot more chicken instead of steak," said Carol Mayhugh, Junction City resident. "I make a lot of homemade soups and casseroles... and yeah, its changed a lot."

Eugene Resident Mike Summers says he is travelling away from a store closer to his house to another store that sells food for less.

"Obviously shopping here at Grocery Outlet, you know, looking for the best prices," Summers said. "They beat a lot of the stores around here. I look for the sales and go there."

Food for Lane County said food donations are going out just as fast as they are coming in, and when gas prices increase, the need for donated food always rises just as fast as the price.

"Our supply is staying about the same meaning we've got as much coming in as we do going out. Our supply hasn't changed," said Dawn Marie Woodward, Food for Lane County spokeswoman.

Woodward said familes see money for gas as a flexible part of their budget, but in reality, without gas for the morning commute, there would be no budget at all. That leaves food as the only thing to cut.

"If you're working on a salary, or a set number hours a week, or social security, you're on a fixed income give or take a few dollars," Woodward said.

She said Food for Lane County is willing to help anyone who needs it. Depending on the size of the family seeking help, a donation of three to five days of food will be given out to a family.

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