Friday, December 23, 2011

TOP STORY >> ‘Grinch’ doesn’t dispirit charity

Leader staff writer

A Grinch “with a heart two sizes too small” earlier this week broke into Hope’s Closet and Pantry, a charity in Cabot, and stole portable heaters, baby items, shoes, along with men’s and women’s clothing. It is the fourth time in two years someone has burglarized the outreach group’s building.

“It should be a time of giving, not stealing,” Hope’s Closet director Kimberly Buchberger said.

But all hope is not lost. Police are investigating and do have leads.

“It’s not going to mess us up. We’re going to pull our boots up and keep pushing,” she said.

Buchberger believes that she may know more next week about the identity of the grinch or grinches.

Volunteers have been vigorously collecting items to replenish what was taken. The charity still plans to give away blankets in January.

Larry’s Pizza held a fundraiser Friday. A percentage of its buffet sales, along with cash donations it accepted, went to Hope’s Closet.

Also, the Girls Rollin’ in the South women’s flat-track roller derby team will be holding a donation drive for the charity until Friday.

According to reports, on Wednesday morning, volunteer Heather Moore stopped by Hope’s Closet on South Rockwood Road and noticed the side window was pried opened. A shelf blocked the entry through the window, so burglars pried open the front door.

Someone left a joker, popped up from a jack-in-the-box, in the place where eight heaters were. Members of a women’s bowling league recently donated the heaters.

“They took all our children’s scarves, socks, mittens and caps. They took one whole bin of blankets and a bin of children’s shoes. They took our money box, but nothing was in it,” Moore said.

She said the thieves took toys, large-sized women’s clothing, men’s clothes, jeans and toddler clothing.

Teresa Barbery, another volunteer, said the break-in made her sick to her stomach. “It’s horrible. It’s just a mess.”

Barbery said the air base had donated three large bins that had been filled with blankets and towels. “One of those were taken, and that had to take at least three people to lift,” she said.

Moore said, “They ransacked our food pantry, knocking things off the shelves. They took a shelf of feminine hygiene products.”

The thieves knocked a hole in the side of a storage shed and broke in the doors.

“If the people who did this were in need, if they would have let us know, we would have helped them out. That’s what we’re here for,” Moore said.

“We’ve had a lot of response from people wanting to assist”, Moore said after news of the break-in spread.

Moore said people have donated clothes, blankets and shoes. The Arkansas Federal Credit Union gave a large donation.

“What’s great about Cabot is that it’s a giving community,” she said.

“The main need is for children’s items, but we’ll accept whatever people feel led to give,” Moore said.

“It is bad that it happened, but we’ve received a lot of blessings,” she said. “I hate that it happened. We are going to come back stronger, keep pushing and helping families that need help,” Buchberger said.

Hope’s Closet is the second charity group to be hit with problems this Christmas season.

Over the past month, flooding at God’s Holy House Church in Jacksonville has destroyed the building and donations for its thrift store.

To help the church, call 501-291-5925 or 501-551-5574.

Hope’s Closet donations may be given to any roller derby league member. Call 501-605-6153 or 501-831-3203, visit the Girls Rollin’ in the South Roller Derby on Facebook, or send an e-mail to to make arrangements to pick up or drop off items.