Offers of food and cash have come flooding in to St Vincent de Paul, after thieves stole more than $1000 worth of food destined for Hamilton's homeless and hungry.
At the weekend, the society's van was siphoned of fuel, cancelling Monday night's food drop and more than likely wiping out the week.
But St Vincent de Paul manager Mike Rolton said he was even more surprised to find the two large chest freezers, used to store food in the van, had been cleaned out, too.
"Just after six on Monday night, I noticed something was amiss with the freezer. They'd unscrewed it, then tried to screw it back, but hadn't put it on quite right.
"I lifted it up and it was all empty."
However, following an article on the Times website yesterday morning, $500 of cash donations and enough food to refill the freezers had been donated by the public.
"It's been quite overwhelming really," Mr Rolton said.
The Lawrenson Group and The Breeze have both come forward to help.
After hearing about the incident someone also approached Mr Rolton with a name yesterday morning.
"It's quite funny, when they read the article in the paper - the people we help the most, the street people and those who are suffering - they came forth and gave me a name.
"If you work with these guys, they have their own sort of unwritten rules. And of course this guy has broken the rules, [so] they reported him straight away."
The charity's van, which is signwritten and fitted out with freezers and an awning, sometimes feeds up to 100 people a night. Mr Rolton said unless those involved were blind, there would have been no doubt who owned it.
A team of four volunteers takes the van out each night to feed people in neighbourhoods such as Norton, Melville, Fairfield and Enderley.
Readers of the Times were outraged by the theft, with many venting their anger on Facebook.
"How pathetic can some people be?" asked Glynnis Porter.
Mr Rolton said he had passed the name of the suspected culprit to police, who were investigating the matter.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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