In less than 72 hours, multiple thefts at the Sources Langley Food Bank have left the charity scrambling to find help.
First, someone stole $1,000 in gift cards from the food bank on Thursday, Dec. 10.
Then, late Friday, Dec. 11, the big panel van the food bank uses to collect donations and pick up purchases disappeared from its parking spot.
The theft occurred even though colorful decals had been applied to the van four weeks earlier to promote the food bank and render the van less attractive to thieves.
Early on Saturday, Dec. 12, someone used the gas card for the van to buy more than $1300 of diesel gas from a Clearbrook gas station.
The van was found abandoned in Aldergrove later that same morning.
The nearly 20-year-old Ford E350 was not drivable due to mechanical damage and is being assessed by ICBC to see if it is repairable.
This all happened shortly after the food bank discovered that its only other vehicle, a smaller van, needed about $5,000 in repairs and would have to be scrapped.
“It has been a challenging week,” said Denise Darrell, Director of Community Services at White Rock-based Sources.
“This is the busiest time of year for us and the loss of both of our vehicles is going to cause a huge hardship for our food bank and clients alike.”
On Sunday, Dec. 13, the charity had to rent a small van to pick up donations at the Basics for Babies event at the Langley Events Centre.
The rental isn’t big enough to collect donations of food from partnering stores in the Langley and Aldergrove regions served by Sources.
“We require the ability to collect these donations,” Darrell said.
“We also make large purchases.”
Since the food bank began operating in Langley a year ago, the number of people it serves has grown to almost 600 (as of last week).
The food bank is hoping some one might be able to provide a van or financial help to rent one.
“We are in desperate need of help,” Darrell said.
“We are a registered charity (and an) accredited agency in excellent standing, so we can provide tax receipts.”
Denise Darrell can be reached at 604-541-4820 or 604-351-7821.