BELTON, Mo. — A new Cass County food and baby pantry has been burglarized twice the past two weeks before it can even open its doors.
Thieves made off with thousands of dollars worth of goods intended for the less fortunate.
Belton Police are investigating, but they didn’t have to go far. The Family Resource Centers of Missouri pantry is right next door to the police station.
Shay Jefferson is trying to turn the former Casey’s gas station into a place of hope.
“It means a lot to us to be able to help people in a way that really matters,” said Jefferson, Family Resource Centers of Missouri executive director.
She’s spent weeks stocking the pantry shelves, only to have thieves help themselves to anything and everything inside.
“They took formula, diapers, shoes. What is the point? Who goes and trashes somebody’s place like that?” Jefferson said to police in a video recorded discovering the first burglary.
“Then you come in on Sunday to find we’ve been hit again. At that point, we were just disheartened. We were like, ‘Are you serious?'” Jefferson said.
Their shelves and storage were emptied, $7,000 worth of goods and computers stolen.
Making matters worse for the charity serving nine Missouri counties, they found out their newest location set to open hadn’t yet been added to their insurance.
Jefferson thinks based on the somewhat-selective thief’s preferences — men’s socks not women’s, only newborn diapers — that person might have been in despair themselves.
“I think that’s what’s so upsetting for me is at any point had they knocked on the door and said, ‘I need,’ we would have given them all they needed plus some,” she said.
As a result of the burglaries, they’ve had to delay their opening.
“We’re still missing quite a bit. They took all of the bottles and some of our postpartum, so that needs to be replaced,” Jefferson pointed to one area of the pantry.
But now the pantry has a new name, Bridge Over Troubled Water, inspired by the song that came on the radio as the charity deliberated if they could move forward.
“We feel like that’s what God does. He is our bridge over troubled water. That’s what we are going to need to get through it. That’s what we want to be to people,” Jefferson said.
If you’d like to help, you can make a monetary donation here or drop off goods at 6909 E. 163rd Street. The building is immediately west of the police station.
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