St. Mary Church: Robbed food bank getting deposits


Lisa Dunne “was disgusted” when she learned that someone had broken into a food bank at St. Mary Church, and stole most of its food.

“I couldn’t believe it — and a church food bank, at that,” she said.

Staff at the church on Hellems Avenue in discovered the break in last Tuesday, and the near empty shelves where the Society of St. Vincent de Paul stores food, food vouchers and clothing vouchers for people in need.

Dunne, who works at NET Camping Resort on Victoria Avenue in Pelham, said she spoke to campers about the theft, and they shared her sense of revulsion.

“They’re shocked and saddened by it. They can’t believe that someone would do that. There’s speculation that is might have been someone that needed it, but either way they went the wrong way about it,” she said.

“And clearly, they made off with a lot — more than they needed.”

The campground wanted to help.

Dunne said NET campground has 367 campsites of which about 250 are occupied by seasonal campers. And many of them cleaned out the cupboards eager to help.

“The campers have been really generous. They’re bringing in food by the bag and box load,” she said. “We’re accepting non-perishable donations, toiletries and cash.”

People from outside the park are welcome to pitch in, too. They can drop off donations at the park store from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.

Dunne initially enlisted the help of her children and their friends to scour the campground looking for donations, hoping to help the church meet the need when food is distributed on Tuesdays.

But when she learned that other local food banks had stepped up to the plate to help, the park chose to extend the food drive for the full week to help recoup the losses.

“It gave us a bit more time to be able to get as much as possible,” she said.

Other local businesses have begun to pitch in, too.

Welland’s 7-Eleven store at East Main Street and Crowland Avenue is organizing a food drive this week.

The store’s assistant manager Stacy Kaune was making signs Sunday to put up in the store window.

Kaune said it’s really sad that someone would have done something like that.

“There are so many people in our community that are in need, and this is a very large hit that they took at once,” she said. “If businesses and places in Welland don’t come forward and help them it is going to take a long time for them to rebuild it (the food bank) by themselves.”

Patrick Rothwell from St. Vincent de Paul said the organization has been overwhelmed by support form the community.

In addition to assistance from other food banks, he said individuals have also helped out, including one couple who donated about $250 worth of groceries.

“People have been really great,” he said. “It’s sad that it had to happen.”