(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – When single mothers, children and the unemployed men of Princes Town turned up for their weekly lunch at the Holy Cross RC Church yesterday, they left dejected as thieves had raided the soup kitchen.
Appliances and food were all looted from the kitchen that has been run by the Friends of Holy Cross for the past 19 years in the crime that church members described as “shamelessly taking food from the mouths of the poor.”
Secretary of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) and manager of the soup kitchen Joan Lee Chong said yesterday that the kitchen, located on the church grounds, might have been raided between Sunday night and Monday morning.
Lee Chong said when the cook went to the kitchen on Tuesday night to prepare, she found that several appliances were gone.
The items included a 30’ Whirlpool gas cooker, a Sharp microwave, blender, hand blender, pressure cooker, liquid soap, rice, cases of ketchup and a tarpaulin.
Lee Chong said a knife set and hair grooming kit, donated for a raffle they held, were also stolen.
“I was really distraught yesterday and today I am coming to terms with it, but it really is very sad that people will take food out of little children’s mouth because we were unable to cook today.
“People came because yesterday we had no opportunity to inform anybody and many children usually get lunch from this soup kitchen on Wednesdays. Many of them are without lunch today,” Lee Chong said.
When Princes Town police arrived and checked the premises, they found the box for the pressure cooker in the cemetery of the churchyard.
Lee Chong said every Wednesday, between 65 to 70 people are fed, many of them children and single mothers.
The stolen items were valued around $10,000 and were acquired over time through funds that they raised or were donated by parishioners and sponsors.
With villagers leaving disappointed yesterday, the NGO is hopeful that Samaritans would help them restore the kitchen.