Mission director says third burglary 'adds insult to injury'

Someone broke into a storage area for the Bridgeport Rescue Mission for a third time Monday night, jeopardizing meals for hungry children.

Twice over the holiday weekend a warehouse where donations are stored was burglarized.

Executive Director Terry Wilcox told HANRadio.com Tuesday that the items stolen amount to several thousand dollars worth. Wilcox spoke to Coffee Break hosts Kate Czaplinski and John Kovach about the thefts, saying the third theft “adds insult to injury” and comes during a difficult time of year, when few new donations are pouring in.

Someone entered a walk-in freezer overnight Monday, then left the door open when they exited. Winter coats, bedsheets, several electronic devices and a commercial battery charger were stolen during the weekend break-ins, which also damaged the building.

Officials at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission were doing an inventory early Tuesday to determine how much food was lost.

Homemade lunches for children in South Norwalk are stored in the freezer. Those lunches are OK and can be served.

Nine churches partner with the Bridgeport Rescue Mission to provide 175 children with home-made lunches Mondays through Fridays for nine weeks during the summer when these children are in a summer learning program through the Norwalk Housing Authority.

Over the holiday weekend, a crowbar was used to pry open the steel doors on the facility. Among the items stolen were hundreds of new winter coats, a donation being held for use during the mission’s Great ThanksGiving Project giveaway in the fall.

In addition, another recent donation of brand new bedsheets that were being provided to needy families and individuals were also stolen. The thieves also removed several electronic devices and a commercial battery charger.

In a meeting with Bridgeport police early Monday morning, Wilcox said the mission’s donation center warehouse complex exists simply to store and process food, clothing and household items that are donated by the community and freely given to those in need.

“This kind of larceny hurts everyone, but especially the poor,” Wilcox said.

Wilcox said in the interview Tuesday that the mission has spents hundreds of dollars repairing the doors each day.

Food can be donated to the Bridgeport Rescue Mission during the Stuff-a-Truck Food Drive at Stop & Shop stores July 25-26.

Financial gifts toward the cost of the repairs can be made online at www.BridgeportRescueMission.org. Friends who may have security or surveillance equipment or materials they wish to donate are asked to contact Linda Casey, Director of Development and Strategic Planning, at (203) 333-4087, ext. 110. Donations of new coats and household items to replace those that were stolen are welcome and appreciated and can be dropped off at the Donation Center which is being repaired today.

For more information on the Mission’s programs and services for homeless and hurting men, women and children, visit BridgeportRescueMission.org.