Repeated burglaries impact Port St. Joe charity

Local News

GULF COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — A Gulf County thrift store has caught multiple people stealing from their donations bins.

“It’s not us as a church that’s injured it’s these folks that have whatever needs they have. Our heart goes out to them and then the result is less to go around for the community especially with food,” Senior Pastor of First United Methodist of Port St. Joe Geoffrey Lentz said.

The Methodist Care Closet opened in 1997 after the paper mill closed and they have made it their mission to help those in need.

Most of the clothing is priced at only 50 cents and all of the proceeds from the Methodist Care Closet go right next door to the Two Fish Food Market help feeds over 200 households in Gulf County.

Methodist Care Closet Manager Nancy Dimitrijevich said stealing from the bins affects the number of people they can provide food for.

Dimitrijevich and Lentz want everyone to know if someone is in need they don’t have to steal they just need to ask.

“People come in all the time and say we need help and we absolutely do what we can to help them,” Dimitrijevich said. “I will give them cards for so many things here, free, whatever. It’s really a helpful thing for our community. We have a community that gives a lot to us and we go through it, sell it, and it goes back out into the community.”

On November 22, the Methodist Care Closet caught the suspects on their camera stealing from the donation bins in the back of the store and it wasn’t the first time.

Dimitrijevich said she heard people will steal clothes from the bins then turn around and sell them online.

“If these folks need some help we will give them clothes,” Lentz said. “We give away a lot of clothes to people who have had fires or who have been terminated at their jobs or have a life crisis. We’d happily give them clothes if they have other needs. We would love to meet those needs and we love these folks and we love our community.”

The pastor said they are offering forgiveness to the people that are responsible.

“We aren’t upset or vindictive against these folks should they ever be identified, we just want everybody to know what our mission is,” Lentz said.

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