Dec. 29, 2003 – "Goodwill toward all" is the operating principle of the Catholic Charities Soup Kitchen on St. Croix, not only at Christmas but all year long. But that principle was turned upside down over the weekend when burglars broke in, ransacked the facility and took everything they could find.
"Everything was taken," Jacqueline Charles, Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands district monitor, said.
She said that "everything" consisted of all of the food in the kitchen and pantry of the renovated building located just out of Times Square, plus cleaning supplies, plates, pans, utensils and even toilet paper from the bathrooms.
Because of the facility's location in an economically depressed area, Michael Akin, Catholic Charities executive director, said, "we don't keep electronics" there. "We've never had the money to install an alarm system; so, there were no computers there," he said.
Although the burglars got little of monetary value, Akin said, "they left a mess."
The food that was taken had been donated by the community in recent weeks, Charles said. "It's sad to see something like this," she said. "We're trying to feed the homeless, and now we are back to where we started."
She and other staff members discovered the break-in when they opened the soup kitchen to begin work on Monday morning. "As soon as we were in, we saw that the windows had been broken," Brenda Charles, a caseworker, said.
Charles said the food items were stored in large cases, and it would have required the strength of more than one individual to move them.
"I hope that the members of the community will help us again by donating stuff which will replenish our pantry and kitchen," she said.
Catholic Charities of the Virgin Islands is a not-for-profit organization run by the Catholic Diocese of St. Thomas. The St. Croix soup kitchen facility is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, with lunch being served from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
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