Augusta food pantry vandalized

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News 12 First at Five, January 2, 2008

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Vernita Webb can't believe someone was able to break into their food pantry by squeezing through a tiny 12 x 14'' window.

"You're trying to help people and they do this to you. What's the use? What's the purpose?" she asks.

Downtown Cooperative Church Ministry (DCCM) has been giving free food to the needy and homeless for over thirty years. On Tuesday, someone vandalized the building by kicking doors in and scattering bags everywhere. No food was taken, just a telephone and a radio.

"Every time they take the telephone," says Webb. "I guess so they can go sell it for a dollar."

It's the third time the pantry has been broken into -- despite posted signs that read, "There's no cash on the premises."

Volunteers say they feel violated by the whole ordeal.

"It's like a rape," says Margaret Brubaker, the Vice President of Urban Ministries, "It's just the violation of something that's very dear to us."

"You see we're all kind of down and it really makes you feel like...what's the use?," adds Webb as she gives a long sigh.

The plan now is to clean up the mess and to replace wooden door that was kicked in with a metal door. That'll cost about 3 hundred dollars.

"The money that we take for that to repair that is going to be less money for the food that we buy," Webb says with sadness.

But for today, they made it work. they were still able to fill bags with food to give to the needy.

"We just hope and pray that it won't happen again," said Brubaker.

"We'll get over it. Go home and take a nap. Come back...Ready to go again," adds Webb.

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