‘Shocking and disheartening’: Two Okanagan non-profit organizations hit hard by thieves

Two Peachland organizations dedicated to helping people in need are suffering in the aftermath of a late-night break and enter.

Sometime between Nov. 11 and Nov. 12, the food bank and Wellness Centre in Peachland were broken into, weakening the ability to help their community during what is typically the season when need is most acutely felt.

“It’s very, very disappointing,” said Judy Bedford, who has been working at the food bank for 39 years.

Bedford said among the items stolen were basic supplies, like sugar and coffee, as was a case of peaches that she’d canned herself.

It’s a particularly bad time for this kind of hit, she explained. Already, the food bank helps several hundred people a month but at Christmas, the need is more acute.

“It just hurts people who need the help the most,” she said.

That sentiment is echoed by Geoff Trafford, from Peachland’s Wellness Centre, a not-for-profit society that delivers social services to the community. Thieves entered and then broke into their filing cabinets and computers.

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Trafford said that the incident is “shocking and a little bit disheartening.”

“We’re a very open place and people are welcome,” he said.

“We support people, not so much financially, but with a lot of other things And if you’re in need, you can come to the food bank or you can come to the Wellness Centre you don’t need to break in here.”

He thinks they were looking for money, came up short, and then destroyed some other items.

“What they did is some destruction, which was significant,” he said.

“They broke into my office, for example, and tore the desk apart, pulled the drawers out, pulled them off in search of what turned out to be hundreds of dollars, not thousands of dollars. I think they were surprised and left before they could take other computers or find something else that they might be looking for.”

All in all, it’s a setback and any help is appreciated.

“If somebody wanted to donate some money for a computer system it’s basically a laptop computer, or for the repairs of our doors which are quite a big expense, that would be nice,” he said.

For those who use the centre, the theft has also made an impact.

“You just feel safe here then all of a sudden you think ‘they come in here too, there’s not safe place any more,’  it’s too bad,” Peachland resident Crystal Lee said.

Those who are able to help are welcome to go to the website or call the organization directly to chip in.

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