Food for poor stolen from Bosco Center

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Thieves broke into the Bosco Nutrition Center Monday night &045; just three days before Christmas &045; stealing a 30-pound ham meant for Christmas dinner for Selma’s needy. In addition to the loss of the ham, the thieves caused more than $2,000 damage to the center’s walk-in refrigerator. The Bosco Center, located at 1006 Union St., is one of several outreach ministries of the Edmundite Missions, which has served Selma and rural Alabama for more than 65 years.

One year ago to the day, thieves took life-size statues of Mary and the infant Jesus from the Edmundite Missions’ Nativity scene in front of Edmundite Memorial Chapel, 1413 Broad St. Several other statues were knocked to the ground but not seriously damaged. The statue of Mary was recovered two days later, but the statue of Mary was not recovered. In the succeeding months, the lost statue was replaced and all others refurbished by a dozen of the children and youth of the St. Edmund Learning Center in time for the Nativity display to be set up for this year’s Christmas season.

Father Roger

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La charite, Edmundite Missions director said, &uot;We are astounded that someone would steal from a center that is already having a tough time feeding Selma’s hungry and homeless. Of course, we will make sure we have plenty of food to serve our traditional Christmas dinner, but I’m sorry we also have the additional expense of replacing the food and repairing the damaged cooler.&uot;

According to Edmundite sources, the break-in occurred about 10:30 p.m. Monday in the freezer unit adjacent to the center. The thieves apparently broke in through the refrigerated cooler floor and exited through the wall, damaging the door and insulation. Taken were the ham, one of six stored for serving at Christmas, and a box of cheese. The thieves were interrupted when someone called the police. No suspects were identified but there were some bootprints on the ground under the freezer unit.

Mary Gayle, director of the Bosco Center, was saddened by the event. &uot;All we are trying to do is provide a good hot meal and kindness to anyone who walks in our door, every day of the year,&uot; she said. &uot;We ask nothing in return, and to have this happen &045; it is very discouraging.&uot;

The center does not have an alarm system, because, as Gayle put it, &uot;We don’t expect anybody to break into a place that is helping others.&uot;

Gayle, undaunted,

said that Christmas Day food service would not be curtailed in any way. She plans to fix the traditional Christmas dinner of baked ham, potato salad, sweet peas, rolls and sweet potato dessert. Each person will also get a Christmas bag filled with fruit, nuts and candy.

The Bosco Center, founded and operated by Edmundite Missions, is also supported by the Dallas County United Way, churches and a local foundation.

It has served more than 40,000 meals this year.