Thanks to generous donations, a Christmas food distribution in Etowah County will go on as planned next week after thieves broke into a church and stole all the food donations.
The Etowah Baptist Association regularly distributes food through the Mount Olive Mission Center in the Altoona community of Etowah County. In advance of Christmas, plans were to give larger-than-normal holiday food boxes to about 75 families, according to Craig Carlisle, EBA’s director of missions.
Much of the food was stored in freezers at a local church because the missions center didn’t have adequate space to hold it all. But on Dec. 3, thieves broke into the church and took all the food stored there, along with many items belonging to the church.
The theft could have meant many families would miss out on a holiday meal, but churches and the greater Etowah County community stepped up, Carlisle said.
‘Ready to go’
“We got the call and immediately began to think about how we were going to replace the food in so short an amount of time,” he said. “What then happened is our people, not just Etowah Baptist folks but people from across the community, sent us monetary donations. A local food distributor was very generous with us as far as the cost and helped us gather meat to replace what was stolen.
“At this point we are ready to go again,” Carlisle said. “We will be able to have the food distribution just as planned.”
Carlisle said he was encouraged as donations large and small came in to help meet the need, including several from outside Etowah County. Another association also offered help, he said.
“I was able to tell them we’re good for right now, but it meant so much that they would take the time to call and offer to help us out,” he said. “Churches and random people have stepped up. We’re so blessed. We support each other.”