Thieves caused more than $17,000 worth of losses to the Second Harvest Food Bank earlier this week by cutting gas lines at two loaded trucks outside the San Carlos center to steal about 90 gallons of fuel.
The gas is valued at more than $400 but the cost of towing and fixing the trucks plus hiring a security guard to watch over the Bing Center facility pushed the total loss to more than $17,000 — or the equivalent of more than 34,000 meals, officials with the nonprofit said.
“At a time when we are trying to raise $13.2 million and are in the middle of our biggest campaign, that is a setback,” said spokeswoman Caitlin Kerk.
The theft also stole precious time.
Trucks are in and out during this busy season so having two vehicles out of commission meant food wasn’t getting into the hands of those who need it, Kerk said.
The trucks were also already loaded with food so had to be emptied before towing which meant more time spent, Kerk said.
The food bank’s San Jose location has a fenced yard but the San Carlos site does not.
The food bank has had gas siphoned many years ago but nothing like this, Kerk said.
The crime hit food bank officials particularly hard because of the timing.
“Who would steal from the food bank, particularly as we head in to the holidays and so many people are depending on us for food?” asked CEO Kathy Jackson.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties provide food to more than 250,000 people each month which is equal to one in 10 individuals. The annual holiday food and fund drive raises nearly half the bank’s yearly revenue. The drive, which launched last month, is also seeking 2 million pounds of food.
Kerk said the fundraising so far is “a little slow going” but added it is early in the season yet. Because the recession is largely considered over, a lot of people forget that while they are doing well it is not the case for everybody.
“The need just continues to go up,” Kerk said.
Last year, the food bank distributed nearly 52 millions pounds of food with more than half being fresh produce.
Those wanting to help the food bank recover its loss and meet the ongoing need should visit www.SHFB. org or call 866-3663. Those needing food should call the Food Connection Hotline at (800) 984-3663.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102