FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFSM) — Volunteers who work for Pay It Forward Fort Smith, a service ran by volunteers that help feed and cloth around 300 families a week, said they woke up on Wednesday (April 17) to find their stockpile of donations had been ransacked and food was missing.
“Quite a few things were missing. So, immediately I started taking pictures and made a short video and called the local police department. I didn’t know what else to do,” said founder Darla Lackey. “It was completely devastating because we work so hard to make sure that what people in the community need we have to give. For someone to do this is was really devastating and it hurts my feelings. I don’t know what else to say but it really hurts my feelings.”
Items inside of the tent, that sits next to a home on May Avenue, were destroyed with produce and other foods missing.
While police look into the theft, Pay It Forward Fort Smith volunteers said they are forgiving those responsible and will continue to help anyone who needs it.
“Anything that was in that tent, we would give anybody in this community absolutely free. So, there is no reason for this kind of devastation,” said volunteer Rose Henley.
On Sunday (April 20) around 300 families will show up, like they do every week, to receive clothes and food.
Volunteers said with the donations destroyed and missing they will have to talk to businesses about more donations and hope the community will drop by any food they can donate.
“If you can do anything to give us some donations we would be grateful and so would the people we help.”
Those wanting to donate can do so at 321 May Avenue or by calling Pay It Forward Fort Smith at (479) 312-0962.
Pay It Forward Fort Smith is a volunteer event with volunteers saying they are in the process of applying for a 501c3 Non-profit status. Volunteers also said they are working with the City of Fort Smith to obtain an unconditional use building across the street from where they currently are.
They also said they will work to gather donations in hopes of purchasing a security camera system.