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Today In "Awful": Thieves Steal Food Pantry's Newly-Purchased Meal Delivery Truck

By Kim Bellware in Food on Jun 21, 2012 9:20PM

This particular truck in the photo is not the stolen vehicle.
There are groan-inducing stories about stolen vehicles (though sometimes they do have happy endings) and then there's this: last Friday, someone stole Mother Jones Food Pantry's meal delivery truck, purchased only ten days prior, from the lot of their West Pullman location.

Pastor Virgil Jones, who is associated with the food pantry through the adjacent Noble Evangelistic Ministries, discovered the van stolen around 11:30 p.m. last Friday. Jones told the Sun-Times he had returned to the lot after making a food delivery using his own car and discovered the spot where he'd parked the van earlier—which the pantry only acquired on June 6—was empty.

“We’ve been here for over four years, everybody in the neighborhood knows what we’re doing,” Jones told WBBM on Monday. “So, it had to be someone that really didn’t care or didn’t know what we did for the community.”

Jones described the truck as a plain, white, 17-foot box truck (formerly a Budget rental truck) with a crack at the top of the truck from a tree falling on it previously. Jones described his suspicions as to how the truck was stolen to CBS 2:

"Jones said it looked as if someone towed the truck off the lot next to the pantry, as there was no broken glass where the truck had been parked, and tracks left behind on the grass looked like the truck had been dragged"

Jones said the truck had no food in it when it was stolen but that it would have been used to pick up food the approximately 2,000 individuals the pantry feeds each month. The food pantry has provided food for the past four years without a truck, but Jones told the Sun-Times that need in the community has since increased. While the pantry is open on Saturdays, Jones said many of the Chicagoans its serves are homebound.

"We had [the truck] for ten days,” Jones told the Sun-Times. “It took us four years to get this truck, and one day for some heartless person to steal it.”

If it were possible to add any more insult to injury, it sounds as if the truck was neither marked nor insured. CBS2 reports the pantry made the final payment on the truck two weeks ago and that Jones hadn’t even received the title yet.

“I was waiting until today, which is Monday, to go and get the insurance and get a license plate for it,” Jones told CBS.

Sadly, the charity is no stranger to hard times. In August 2008, Mother Jones Food Pantry ran out of food while owing outstanding bills to The Greater Chicago Food Depository. At the time, Pastor Jones told ABC7 News that the struggling pantry only had "a few cans of peaches to give out to the hungry families."

Mother Jones Food Pantry is located at 709 W. 120th St.