Arundel Food Bank sees donations spike after theft

Food Bank lost $10,000 in computer equipment in burglary last week

December 08, 2010|By Nicole Fuller, The Baltimore Sun

Donations have poured in to the Anne Arundel County Food Bank, after a burglary at the nonprofit last week left the group without computers and its office in shambles.

Bruce Michalec, executive director of the food bank, said Wednesday that countless business and community groups have promised to hold food drives. One man mailed in a $5,000 check and many others made cash contributions. Some have given gift cards to electronic stores. And Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold donated five county-owned computers this afternoon.

"The outpouring from the community is really strong," said Michalec. "I'm stunned by some of the kindness that people have showed to me."

Burglars broke into the Anne Arundel County Food Bank on Friday and stole $10,000 worth of computer equipment used to manage the operations of the nonprofit group, including 12 computers, monitors and a big-screen television. Located on the grounds of the former Crownsville Hospital Center, the 24-year-old food bank is privately run, though it receives about $95,000 in annual county grants.

No arrests have been made in the burglary.

"The food bank is a critical resource for the neediest individuals and families in our community, so it is only natural that we come to its aid in a time of need," Leopold said in a statement, adding, "As the police search for the burglars, we want to make sure the food bank can continue to do its work."

The five county computers were in storage, and had served as back-up staff computers, said Leopold spokesman Dave Abrams.

Michalec said the stolen computers held valuable information like the food bank's inventory, contracts and bank account information. But he said the group's six workers have worked nonstop to keep the food bank operational ahead of the busy holiday season.

"We're up and running," Michalec said. "It's a bad inconvenience this time of year. It's making the day hard. I got a dedicated crew here. I'm very lucky. This is the type of help you need at this time."

Last year, the food bank gave food to more than 100 agencies that supplied 35,000 families. Its soup kitchen program distributed more than 500,000 meals. The group also rehabilitates furniture and medical equipment.

A worker discovered the theft early Friday morning. Someone broke a rear window, took the computers and left the office in disarray.

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