A series of thefts impacted Central Utah Food Sharing, the regional food bank tasked with helping people in the south central Utah region.

Thieves/vandals cut off and stole the catalytic converters to the food bank’s primary delivery box truck, causing more than $500 in damage.

“As the executive director at Central Utah Food Sharing here in Richfield I tend to see a side of Richfield that sometimes gets overlooked,” said Roene Shaw. She said the food bank runs on very limited funds and the discovery of the theft was disheartening. 

“While this act alone might not completely shut us down, it’s difficult to believe that someone would stoop so low as to steal from a food bank,” Shaw said. “We work on a very limited budget. We have worked hard to stay open to serve this community while others have closed.

“There is a hugely pervasive misconception in our community that is hindering our ability to fully serve the increasing needs of Sevier, as well as other neighboring counties. Contrary to popular opinion, we are not a state agency. We also do not receive any monetary support from the Utah food bank.”

 In fact, CUFS isn’t a government agency at all, and operates solely on donations from the community and private grant funding. 

“Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent shelter in place restrictions, we have obtained far less monetary support from normally accessible grants than expected,” Shaw said. “These monies are critical if we are to keep providing even a minimal level of service. Now, thanks to the theft incident, we have to spend money to make repairs to our truck, which could have been better utilized.”

An automotive repair business, also located in the Richfield’s industrial park, also reported at least two instances of catalytic converters being cut off of vehicles and stolen May 5. The thieves hit the business again, stealing more catalytic converters and other auto parts, said Lt. Alan DeMille, Richfield City Police. 

“They can be valuable,” DeMille said of the catalytic converters. A saw blade was found at the scene of one of the vandalisms and was taken into evidence.

The thefts are under investigation. Anyone with information about the thefts is encouraged to call the police at (435) 896-8484.

Meanwhile, the food bank is continuing to function as best it can through the COVID-19 crisis. 

“We’ve only had 20 new clients since it started,” said Bonnie Stewart, program director of CUFS. She said the number of clients has been fairly typical through the COVID-19 crisis. 

Through the first phase of the restrictions, CUFS put together premade boxes for people to pickup. Now the bank is allowing people on an individual basis to come into the pantry. 

“People and businesses have been really good to support us,” Stewart said. 

One instance involved a man, Kenneth Ball, who used his stimulus check to purchase groceries for CUFS. Local grocery stores have also hosted matching programs to help bolster the food bank’s supplies. 

“Please know how deeply grateful we are for the local support we do get,” Shaw said. “The word is getting out and a few people are stepping up. The need is greater now than ever before, and your efforts are both felt and appreciated.”

To make a donation to CUFS or for more information, call (435) 896-5225, or log onto cufoodsharing.org.

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