LA PINE, OR -- Two weeks after thieves broke in to the La Pine Community Kitchen, the nonprofit is bouncing back, thanks to an outpouring of support. Director Stacie Derhak says on April 16, they discovered a thousand dollars’ worth of food missing from its produce stand. But, the financial loss goes beyond the stolen goods, "We had to drive to Bend with our box truck twice, to get that food. And that takes a lot of gas, as well as the wages that we would pay our driver for that. And then, there was damage to our building, which we have to get repaired. The food was donated, but they’re not going to donate that back, so we needed to supplement the food, as well."
The burglary occurred right after the community kitchen had received a load of food from NeighorImpact. Derhak says no arrests have been made in the case, but she suspects it was someone connected to the kitchen, "The way that we were broken into – knowing where our cameras where, knowing when we had the biggest supply of food in the produce stand, and knowing how to get in and out as quickly as they did – it just seems logical that it was someone familiar to our organization."
Since the break-in, several people and groups have stepped up with cash and food donations. On Monday, the La Pine Professional Firefighters Union gave the Community Kitchen a thousand dollars, to help. "It’s really helping us," Derhak tells KBND News, "We’ll be able to recoup the food and we’ll be able to recoup the financial loss. But, on top it now, we’ll be able to make some improvements to this building, which was an old chicken coop that was donated to us that we’ve been trying to convert into a secure building."
The La Pine Community Kitchen provides about 265,000 pounds of food per year to needy families from Bend to Klamath Falls and Lakeview.