Meals on Wheels ransacked
Bandits made off with most of the food used to feed indigent shut-ins and disadvantaged individuals on Grand Cayman after ransacking the offices of Meals and Wheels on School House Road on Wednesday night.
The burglary was discovered at about 6am on Thursday when a cook arrived at the facility to find one of the back windows tampered with and the place a mess.
“They took 60 pounds of chicken, cups, plates, the children’s afternoon snacks, chips, hot dogs, biscuits, juice… I can’t imagine who would do a thing like this. Most of the supplies were bought on Monday. If they had came on Friday the place would have been empty, but we had just been shopping for stuff,” said Beulah McField, Meals on Wheels co-founder and facilitator. She said the trolly used to cart supplies was found outside, which lead her to believe the perpetrator/s had help and possibly used a motor car to pull up to the facility and load the supplies.
Ms McField also cautioned restaurant owners in the area and around Grand Cayman to be on the lookout for anyone trying to sell the goods.
After dusting the Meals on Wheels facility, Royal Cayman Islands Police Service officials concluded the perpetrators most likely wore gloves, she said.
“Even though they took everything, what we needed to prepare food for today was overlooked. God blinded their eyes to that little much and we are still able to serve for today. However, we will have to go shopping again today as people have to be fed,” Ms McField said.
Still smiling despite her ordeal, she said the crooks were not stealing from her, but from God.
“One of the women we serve cannot eat solid foods and so we stock Ensures for her. They even stole those! I am going to have to spend the rest of the week praying for these criminals who did this, so that when God’s wrath falls on them it’s not so bad,” she said.
Books and computers were left behind, as the burglars focused on food.
Meals on Wheels volunteer delivery person and Caribbean Utilities Company Employee Rose Stewart said, “I don’t know if it is greed, badness or what. It was only last Friday that I was at the front desk at CUC when gunmen came in there and held up the place.” Several of the many Meals on Wheels volunteers are employees of CUC.
She added that what was really painful is that the police are not catching the crooks.
Calls have been coming in to Meals and Wheels from concerned citizens in the community with offers to assist in repurchasing supplies, according to Ms McField.
She said, “The police have told us not to touch anything but we have to cook. There are people who truly need that meal we provide and depend on us. Giving up is not an option. We can’t not feed these people. It is that serious.”
The Meals on Wheels programme on Grand Cayman feeds about 170 people a day, five days a week.
Many of the people who rely on MoW are elderly; most living on less than $600 a month.
At a cost of $4 per meal, 60 meals are delivered five days a week to residents of George Town, 40 meals are delivered five days a week to residents of Bodden Town, and 50 meals are delivered three days a week to residents of East End.
The programme estimates, however, that there is a need for 700 more meals per week.
In order to feed every deserving person on Island, Meals on Wheels would need to collect $300,000 in funding per year, a figure that donations and fundraising within the programme have not managed to come close to. Last year, Meals on Wheels collected only $212,963. As of August fundraising and donations had only generated $146,322.