Maj. Sebastian Leonardi, with the Middletown Salvation Army, doesn’t understand why anyone would steal food designated for needy local children.
“If they asked,” he said, “we would give them the food.”
Mary Cundiff, kitchen coordinator for the Salvation Army, added: “We give it away. They didn’t need to take it. Everything here is free.”
Instead, someone recently broke into a storage room at the Townhouse West, 1820 S. Main St., and stole two pallets of food, or about 175 meals earmarked for children over the weekend, he said.
“Never bite the hands that are feeding you,” Leonardi said Tuesday afternoon. “We were helping those people.”
He said the Salvation Army has 10 Summer Food Program host sites and about 700 Middletown children are fed every day, including Saturday and Sunday. The weekend meals include dry goods like candy, nuts, cereal and milk.
The goal of the summer program, Leonardi said, is to provide children nutritious meals during the summer when they’re not receiving free meals in school.
Leonardi said he believes the person who stole the food probably lives in or near the Butler Metropolitan Housing Authority property. He said the person had to know where the food was stored. On Tuesday afternoon, an empty box of food was left near Main Street.
He said the BMHA has secured the storage facility and there haven’t been any more break-ins.
Middletown police are investigating. Anyone with information is asked to call the police department at 513-425-7700.