A string of thefts and vandalism at the Resource Connection’s Food Bank in San Andreas will hinder those who are most in need, according to Manager Tina Mather.
The nonprofit pantry, which distributes food to as many as 750 families monthly throughout Calaveras County, has been the target of one burglary and two punctured gas tanks within the span of a year and a half.
Most recently, on Aug. 26, employees discovered a hole drilled into the gas tank of the large van the pantry uses for food deliveries. The van, Mather said, is vital for reaching struggling families in areas of the county where there is no access to free food.
Repair fees are estimated at $1,070, which is equivalent to $10,000 in food purchases at the pantry, according to Mather.
Relying on grants and “the generosity of this community,” the pantry distributed 884,438 pounds of food last year, Mather said. But maintaining the same level of service in the coming months will be difficult.
No customers will be turned away, Mather said, though some may have to make do with less over the holidays, which is the busiest time of year at the food bank.
“I get very angry,” Mather told the Enterprise on Aug. 30. “It’s a shame that somebody is stealing from the poor in our community. … People who can’t afford to buy food come here for food, and this impacts our ability to buy that food.”
The food bank is not the only location in San Andreas that has been victimized recently by those preying on the needy. In June, two local suspects were arrested after the Habitat for Humanity Calaveras “ReStore” was broken into and a number of items were stolen, valued at over $1,600.
Currently, the food bank is coordinating with the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office and reviewing surveillance footage to identify a suspect, Mather said. Anyone with information regarding the incident is encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office.
Another way the public can assist is through donations, which can be made through trcac.org in the Food Bank section of the website, or sent by mail to P.O. Box 1656 San Andreas, CA 95249.