Donors step up to replace stolen Meals on Wheels money

Hazel O’Brien and Jess Deegenaars of MUFG Fund Services presents Meals on Wheels Director Beulah McField with a donation Wednesday to help replace money stolen in a break-in last week. - PHOTO: JEWEL LEVY

Money stolen from Meals On Wheels earlier this month has been more than replaced thanks to generous donors.

Five hundred dollars was stolen from the charity during a June 12 burglary, in which the burglars cut the building’s phone line, disabled the security system and smashed out a back window to enter the building.

The organization’s volunteers were only able to deliver boxed lunches and could not distribute hot soups the day of the break-in, leaving the elderly recipients with just one meal that day.

The story of the burglary published in the Cayman Compass on June 14 prompted business manager Hazel O’Brien at MUFG Fund Services (Cayman) Limited to start a fundraising drive at her office to replace some of the stolen money.

“I read the article in the Compass last Wednesday … and there seems to be so many bad things going on in the world, like the fire in London … that we cannot do anything about, but this was something we could do something about,” she said.

With 150 staff at her workplace, she said if everyone gave at least one dollar, it might cover some of the loss. “Obviously, we managed to raise a bit more than the $500, we raised $900,” said Ms. O’Brien, who along with co-worker Jess Deegenaars, presented a check to Meals on Wheels Director Beulah McField at the charity’s office this week.

“From the time the news hit the streets, [there has] been an outpouring support and concern from the public,” Ms. McField said.

She told of another donor who had decided to help out after hearing about the break-in. “One lady came in and said it was her 40th birthday and the money she got from her mum, she had no need for” and she gave it to Meals on Wheels.

“It’s when you see these kinds of miracles and put it in comparison to the person that broke in, we know that there is a side to Cayman that we don’t like or know where it comes from, but we also know the generosity, the caring and the goodness of people who live here,” Ms. McField said.

She feels the charity may have gotten off lightly, considering the number of armed robberies and the recent home invasion at Patrick’s Island where a couple were tied up and robbed.

“I don’t know the Cayman we are living in right now, I can’t imagine who does something like that. Anyone who knows the [Meals on Wheels] program, knows it is primarily for two purposes, to feed the seniors and assist the children. Why would they want to take bread out of those mouths? I don’t get it,” she said.

Although Ms. McField is happy the money has been replaced, she said Meals on Wheels is always in need of donations to ensure delivery of free meals to the elderly and housebound can continue.

Presently Meals On Wheels delivers food to 215 people in the community.

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