Pantry 279 food bank vehicles vandalized over weekend; Pantry asking for community help to pay insurance deductibles

Courtesy photo – Pantry 279

Pantry 279, one of a few no-barrier food banks in Monroe County, which helps keep people fed, was vandalized over the weekend, according to a Facebook post on the Pantry’s page posted Saturday, July 30, 2022.

The Pantry distributed food to people in several counties as many businesses shut down and laid off workers during the height of the coronavirus pandemic. Members of the Indiana National Guard were later onsite to help distribute the food.

The post says the catalytic converter for a delivery car was found near the trash, and a van used for the Children’s Summer Food program was heavily vandalized.  

Pantry 279 was loaned a van by Trinity Baptist. The damage to the vehicles will be covered by insurance but is subject to a deductible.

“If anyone wants to help contribute towards the deductible and whatever else we find out, Paypal is [email protected] There is a donate button on our website OR we have an account with Old National Bank. If you ask them to put it into the Pantry 279 acct, they will. Please leave a note that it’s for the vehicles. Thank you all for being so very kind in all of this,” said Pantry 279 in another Facebook post.

Cindy Chavez, who helps run the Pantry, told the Bloomington as evictions increased, many people were sleeping in cars wherever they could, and some were getting sick without access to clean drinking water, and the Pantry was often providing it. The Pantry, run by volunteers, routinely distributes tons of food items.

The pantry caught a suspect on video:

“It’s not a great pic, but here is who messed up the van and delivery car. Video being turned over to the Ellettsville Police Dept. Officer Anthony Bowlen. Any tips, please let them know. This guy was messing with the cars over 2 hours. He touched a lot of things, we are hoping the police will come and get finger prints.” – reads a post on the Facebook page for the Pantry.

Courtesy photo – Pantry 279

Here is all the text of two posts from Saturday, July 30, 2022:

“**UPDATE #2** We have the footage, and a pic has been posted, please share the pic, it’s not good, BUT maybe someone will recognize him. It is a singular adult Male, very short, or shaved head, slender, tall. He was messing with things for 2 hours. Messed with the trailer, but nothing damaged. Messed with the port-a-potty, just have to clean it up. And the van and car. He had tools, so this was planned. He pulled a board off one of the church’s picnic tables to hit the van with, so messed up picnic table. I have no idea why people do things like this 🙁We all feel violated at the Pantry, so please excuse us this week, if we seem sad and distant.

**UPDATE** Well we just found the Catalytic Converter to the new little red SMART car that was being used in deliveries by the trash. So, they damaged that one too. More damage was found on the van. Officer Anthony is handing reports with Ellettsville Police Dept. Still working on video footage. Insurance HAS been informed and a claims adjuster will call Mon or Tues. There will be a deductible for both vehicles, as it has to be filed in 2 separate claims. They said SMART car has full coverage, not sure about van, claims adjuster has the answers. BUT Trinity Baptist has graciously agreed to loan us their big van, so the Children’s Programs can go on this week!

Pantry Family, sadly last night our van that runs the Children’s Summer Food program and many deliveries was badly vandalized. The Ellettsville Police are on the way. SO far we know the door handles were broken off, everything in the van tossed and some stolen, the van was beaten and now the driver’s door won’t shut all the way, battery cables were cut, and general other damage. We have no idea the extent of the motor, brakes, or any running damage there is at this time. We have called the insurance company, but not sure what all, if anything, they will cover. What this means for now that the last week of Children’s Summer Food programs are canceled, except Spencer and Ellettsville as we have Errin from SCCAP that uses her own van for Spencer, and the Ellettsville location one is at our place. We apologize to those in Fayetteville, Bedford, Oolitic, and Bloomington East side but with no van, we have no way to get food over there. I am hoping insurance will help, but at this time, with all cost being so high and us buying food to supplement the climbing numbers, we don’t have a way to pay for this. If anyone knows anything or has seen anything from last night, please let us or the police know. Thank you and share!”

Courtesy photo – Pantry 279

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