11/12/04 — Grinches steal Christmas food from charity

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Grinches steal Christmas food from charity

By Matt Shaw
Published in News on November 12, 2004 2:03 PM

Food intended for the holiday tables of the needy was stolen last weekend from the Salvation Army's Goldsboro warehouse.

Thieves broke in and took three barrels of canned food, plus turkey breasts and other meat from several chest freezers. The loss was discovered Sunday morning as the Salvation Army prepared for church services.

The theft wasn't reported to Goldsboro police, Salvation Army Capt. John Leidy said. "Even if they could catch the people responsible, how would we identify the food that was taken?"

The thieves hit the Salvation Army as it gears up for its busiest time of the year. It has been taking applications this week from low-income families and senior citizens for holiday assistance, which typically has included food baskets for a hearty Christmas dinner.

"As of today, we have had more than 300 applications from families," Leidy said Thursday. "This is going to make their requests harder to fill."

In addition to the giveaway next month, the Salvation Army provides more than 60 meals a day to people staying at its shelter, and it distributes food to the hungry throughout the year. Workers had just assembled six food baskets Thursday, which depleted the shelves even more.

"We're really struggling with what to do," Leidy said.

Food drives are now going on at nine county schools, but more would be appreciated. If companies or organizations would call 735-4811, the Salvation Army will arrange to deliver barrels to collect canned goods and other nonperishable goods.

Also if area businesses have large amounts of food to donate, they can arrange a pickup by calling the same number.

Individuals may drop food off at the headquarters, 610 N. William St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

As for the thieves, Leidy wonders if they were simply hungry.

"If they would have asked for food, we would have helped them load it," Leidy said.