Break-ins threaten to force food pantry closing

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MARTINSVILLE, Ind. -- Every year, the Red Barn helps feed hundreds of hungry families in Morgan County. But thieves are now dangerously close to putting that mission in jeopardy.

“They’d pried the door open broke the glass and came back and took cases of food which included all of our meat products,” said Red Barn assistant manager Ransetta Price.

The Red Barn lost almost everything when criminals broke in, not once or twice, but five times in the last five years according to Price.

Each time, Price and the staff at the food pantry have to start all over again, with the manager shouldering a lot of the burden.

“Patty’s done a lot of buying the food on her own and I’ve kind of helped her,” said Price. “If they break in one more time and tear up our things, she’s thinking about closing it.”

Once again, they’re trying to keep bringing in replacement donations so they have enough to feed people around Christmas and beyond.

Price points out that’s not a sustainable model for a non-profit.

“If they continue to keep breaking in, breaking our windows, breaking our doors, we just can’t keep replacing them,” said Price. “And the food, once the food’s gone, we can’t replace it because we’re all volunteers and go completely on donations.”

A security camera to catch, or even deter thieves isn’t an option for the all-volunteer operation.

“At one point we had a security system, but it got so expensive and as you can see, we don’t have a lot of money so we had to give that up,” said Price.”

Police help patrol the area, but Price knows they can’t be there all the time.

She wants the criminals to know they’re hurting people in need. More importantly, she wants them to realize that if they themselves are in need, they don’t have to steal to get help.

“If you really need something, want something, come and ask us for it because there’s not a person in here that wouldn’t give you whatever you need,” said Price.

The Red Barn is more dependent than ever on donations of food and money to stay open. They also need to find a way to keep the place more secure.

If you can help them in any way, give the Martinsville food pantry a call at 765-342-9063.

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