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Food pantry in Jefferson County giving out free gas cards

Organizers will began giving out gas cards at 10:30 a.m. in a drive-thru event on Thursday.

ARNOLD, Mo. — Starting Thursday, families in the St. Louis area are finding some relief in the pantry and at the pump.

This year, costs for food have gone up almost 11%, the highest spike in decades, and the national gas price average is about $5 a gallon.

Thursday afternoon, members of the Arnold Food Pantry can come for food and leave with a free gas card.

One member who came to get his card Thursday told 5 On Your Side it was the first time he'd driven in months.

"I haven't even filled up in probably six months now," Michael Smith said. "I usually only do half a tank."

He said every mile counts right now. Another member shared the same relief as Smith.

"With the price of gas and personally how my finances are, this couldn't have hit at a better time," Ronald Ruch said.

Arsenal Credit Union and Fireworks City made donations to cover the costs of the gas cards. The pantry is open Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Organizers started giving out gas cards at 10:30 a.m. in a drive-thru event.

Board President Phil Amato said he sees the difference this makes to some of his members already.

"There were people that were coming into the pantry, some of them we can call by name, that were crying," he said.

The Arnold Food Pantry is open over the weekend from 8-11 a.m.

RELATED: How much money would drivers save with a gas tax holiday?

This comes as all eyes are on pump prices that never seem to stop ticking upward.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced he's asking Congress to suspend the federal gas and diesel tax for three months.

The White House estimates it would cost $10 billion. The funding would come from money that's supposed to go toward road construction.

The plan calls for three months of Americans saving 18 cents a gallon on unleaded gas and 24 cents per gallon on diesel.

RELATED: Yes, these five U.S. states have passed their own gas tax ‘holidays’ in 2022

We broke down the numbers to see how much you could save over time.

If you have a 13-gallon tank, and assuming you fill up once a week, you would save around $31 over the 3-month period.

If you typically fill up a 20-gallon tank, you could save $48 over the course of three months.

If you drive a large truck with a 30-gallon tank, you could save around $72 during the proposed gas tax holiday.

The president's plan is facing opposition on both sides of the aisle.

"I support it, but I think we need to be honest about it, it's not going to show a dramatic change in gas prices unless states follow suit,” Democratic Illinois Senator Dick Durbin said.

"This ineffective stunt will join President Biden's other ineffective stunt on gas prices,” Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell said.

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