Burglars Breaking Into Food Pantries...Twice!
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
In more than a decade of operating, the Senior Citizen's Food Pantry in Gilchrist County has never had an issue with burglars. But in the last two weeks, thieves have made off with 700 pounds of meat, 100 pounds of canned food and plenty else--at a time when food banks can least afford it.
Pallets are usually stacked up high, but Wednesday, it's almost empty. Food levels are at all-time lows. To make matters worse, crooks have broken in twice stealing, among other things, two 50- pound boxes of canned food, and 700 pounds of meat.
A sign on the door pleads with the burglars to come in during normal business hours, stating you don't have to break in and steal, just ask and you will be given food.
"Crippled us," says Marcia Hellams, a food pantry volunteer. "It makes you feel bad when you don't have someone come in hungry and you don't have anything to give them."
It's the same mostly-empty pallets at the Bread of the Mighty, a distribution center for Alachua, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy and Lafayette counties. Up front, many of the shelves look packed, but they are filled with a lot more bottles of salad dressing, artichoke hearts and jalapenos, than beans, baby food and tomato soup--foods not filling or healthy for those that need it.
"The voices on the phone calls to ask us for help are the secretarial voice," says Bread of the Mighty Director Anne Voyles. "It's not someone who is homeless."
And with the current economic climate, the number of those calling for help may only go up.
"We need all the help we can get," says Hellams. "Whether it's monetary, canned goods. I don't care what it is. We need their help so we can help others."
To help out, contact the Senior Citizen's Food Pantry in Gilchrist County Food Pantry at 463-2710.
The Bread of the Mighty Food Bank is 336-0839.
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