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November 10, 2014 at 11:31 AM

Theft of delivery van leaves Belltown food bank scrambling

When volunteers for a Belltown food bank arrived at 6 a.m. Monday morning to start their rounds picking up donations they were greeted with a heartbreaking site: their sole delivery van was gone.

Lynn Nishimura, executive director for Puget Sound Labor Agency, said she and other volunteers scrambled into action — many hopped into personal cars to pick up food and hygiene donations so they could open their doors to clients at 8 a.m.  Seattle police took a report, but there’s been no official sighting of their 2006 Ford Econoline cargo van, she said.

Seattle police media-affairs officers could not be reached for comment.

Thieves somehow got into the Belltown garage used by the food bank, but Nishimura isn’t sure how since a key card is needed to gain access. A cleaning crew told food bank volunteers that they saw the van parked in the garage around 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Nishimura said there is no security camera inside the garage.

All Nishimura knows is they need the van back and fast because the holidays are coming.

“We’re gearing up. We do a kid’s holiday party for people who are in need; we provide toys we provide meals to the kids. We go out and collect the toys and get extra food. The van is what we use,” she said.

The Puget Sound Labor Agency, open from 8 a.m. until noon on Mondays and Fridays, provides food and hygiene items for 500 to 600 households in Queen Anne, Capitol Hill and downtown each week, Nishmura said. The food bank, located in the Seattle Labor Temple, has been around for nearly 40 years, she said.

“We have an older truck that hasn’t been running. We’re trying to figure out what we’re going to do,” Nishimura said. She said they have contacted their insurance agency; running out and buying a new van immediately is not an option because the organization has been struggling financially, she said.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: food bank, theft

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