Coolidge food bank hit by thieves got big surprise from community

COOLIDGE, Ariz. (KSAZ) -- It is the season of giving, and a food bank hit by thieves has found some holiday helpers.

Over a week ago, burglars broke into the Coolidge food pantry, taking a lot of food that was going to be used to feed families over the Thanksgiving holiday. Since the incident, and following media reports, people from all over reached out to see how they could help the Open Hands Food Bank and Pantry.

The response stunned the director and volunteers.

The food bank's director, Diann LeSueur, was stunned with the theft incident, and now, LeSueur is stunned again. This time, by the response from neighboring cities and communities, as word of the robbery spread.

"It was like an avalanche, an outpour of love and caring and sharing," said LeSueur.

Thousands of pounds of food have been purchased by the trade union Arizona Pipe Trades UA Local 469. State Rep. TJ Shope, who grew up in Coolidge and represents the area, coordinated Wednesday's big delivery and donation with the Pipefitter's Union, and then helped unload the food.

LeSueur said they have enough to take care of more families than they have in the past. They have a special outreach they do for veterans in Pinal County, and she says this will help them continue to help those who are struggling for the holidays, and maybe even beyond.