Salvation Army seeks donations to replace stolen school supplies, food

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Published: Jul. 30, 2022 at 8:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A burglary has left hundreds of Big Island families without food and students without school supplies when they start classes on Monday.

The Salvation Army says thieves broke into their storage facility in Kailua-Kona and stole $1,000 worth of school supplies that were supposed to be given to 270 students.

“I’m still really sad because what was stolen affects the community,” said Raghel Santiago, a captain with the Salvation Army.

Santiago says her husband went to the Salvation Army Kona Corps Friday morning when he noticed the door to the storage was damaged...

She says school supplies -- $3,000 worth of food for their weekly pantry distributions -- toiletry for kupuna -- and coolers were all missing.

“We noticed the coolers missing from the back shed part. When we went to look thoroughly, we noticed that the lock was busted there too,” she said.

Santiago says they don’t have surveillance cameras -- but the thieves destroyed their sensor lights and left a crow bar behind.

The corps officer says they’ve been out there for five years now and it’s the first time this ever happened to them.

“You get some vandalism here and there. Um, problems here and there. But when it affects people in a drastic way. Yeah, that’s when it becomes really hard to swallow,” Santiago said,

The school supplies including backpacks were donated by several service groups including Kiawanis Club of Kailua-Kona and the Rotary Club.

“My hope is they you know, doesn’t go to waste, they don’t burn it. They don’t trash it. And I just you know, Wish the best for them and hope they go get the help they need,” said Scott Unger, president of the the Rotary Club in Kona.

Santiago says it will be about another week until the kids get their supplies.

“Right now with a lot of people purchasing things for back to school for their kids. It makes it hard because there’s got to be limited amount of items, especially backpacks,” she said. “It throws us off at least a week, but it’s doable.”

The Salvation Army welcomes donations of food, school supplies and cash -- you can drop them off at their facility in Kona.

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