Freezer full of food stolen from Suwannee County pantry

Freezer full of donations stolen from Suwannee County church
Freezer full of donations stolen from Suwannee County church
Posted at 5:03 PM, Mar 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 18:26:31-04

FALMOUTH, Fla. (WTXL) - A freezer full of food was stolen from a Suwannee County pantry this week, just days before hundreds of families could take what they need -- free of charge.

In the town of Falmouth just outside Live Oak, the Mt. Gilead Baptist Church food ministry started eight years ago in Gary Watson's truck. The ministry gives away food on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

"Just trying to share the love of Christ with people and help them with a little food," said Gary Watson, the food ministry director.

The truck gave way to a building, a warehouse full of donations and discounted groceries -- but Monday morning, co-manager Yvonne Vest noticed something wasn't right.

"It's hard to describe," said Vest. "Your heart drops to the pit of your stomach."

A stainless steel commercial freezer was taken from right outside the store. There are no cameras around to capture who did it.

"I'm just sick about the loss and the people it hurt," said Watson. "It hurt people in my church that donated for that freezer, and it hurt the hundreds that we serve here."

The freezer had to be put outside, because there's no room inside the store. Whoever stole the freezer cut the chains and got away with a lot more than just a freezer.

"We had approximately 1,000 pounds of meat in that freezer that we were willing to give away this Saturday," said Watson.

"I didn't believe that anybody would stoop that low that they would steal from the food pantry," said Vest.

The ministry serves more than 1,000 people each month from the surrounding area. Watson says they never turn anyone away, which makes losing the freezer that much harder.

"I pray that they'll find the Lord Jesus Christ in their life as I have, and He'll make the change in their life that he made in mine," said Watson.

Some residents have started collecting reward money for information leading to the return of the freezer. This Saturday's food giveaway will go on as scheduled.

If you have any information about who is responsible for this theft please call the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office at 386-362-2222, you may remain anonymous.