Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – The food pantry at Assumption Church in the heart of Syracuse’s North Side has been temporarily shut down after thieves stripped out copper and damaged property.
"Sometimes churches get taken advantage of," said Regan Mills, the food pantry's director. "I just figured it wasn't malicious. People are desperate."
Police believe the thieves entered the pantry over the weekend through a window, after dismantling a portable air-conditioning unit.
Mills said several items are missing, including a cable box, a wireless phone, a laptop, wires, copper piping, and two turkeys.
With the piping cut and wiring exposed, safety concerns forced the church to close the pantry while they get estimates, hire help for repairs, and clean up.
Despite the setback they've caused, the thieves have already been forgiven. There's no room for anger at the pantry, just eagerness to clear the shelves for local families.
"That is probably what is most disheartening of all. It's not the stolen goods or the damage or the repairs that will take place. It's more the fact that I have to see people come in these past couple of days and explain to them why we are closed as well as having to turn them away," Mills said.
After nearly being forced to close last year due to a lack of donations, stocks are more plentiful now. Volunteers have hope and faith that they'll overcome this obstacle too.
"We're never going to turn anybody away from our doors. This is just a bump in the road," Mills explained.
While the pantry remains closed, the soup kitchen is expected to reopen on Thursday.
Anyone who would like to support the pantry can buy their Fat Friar baked goods at the farmer's market this weekend.
Donations can also be sent directly to:
812 North Salina Street
Syracuse, NY 13208