Vandalism delays Hawkins County ministry's Lunch Box program

Vandalism delays Hawkins County ministry's Lunch Box program

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"Of One Accord Ministry" officials say they believe the bus was vandalized Monday night. "Of One Accord Ministry" officials say they believe the bus was vandalized Monday night.
By JILL MCNEAL
6 News Anchor/Reporter

ROGERSVILLE (WATE) - "Of One Accord Ministry" officials reported vandalism to their bus Monday night, the day before the church would begin its summer "Lunch Box" campaign to feed hungry children in the area.

The "Lunch Box" is a renovated school bus that now serves as a mobile cafeteria feeding hungry children around Rogersville.

Officials say a group of juveniles broke into the bus Monday night and damaged a back window. Nothing was in the bus to steal, but the damage is extensive.

The bus was back on the road Wednesday with the broken window patched with cardboard. The glass was replaced Wednesday afternoon.

Kids in Rogersville eagerly await the arrival of The Lunch Box every weekday during the summer. Inside the bus is a smaller version of a school cafeteria. Volunteers hand out the free meals and kids eat with their friends. Driver Paul Beckner knows how important this delivery is for some children.

"We have been told in the past that this is the only meal they get all day," Beckner said.

The bus didn't make it Tuesday for the first day of the summer program. Vandals broke out the the back window, leaving shattered glass everywhere.

"I was just sick, just sick. I knew there wouldn't be any way we could do our first day. It just kind of broke my heart," said program director Rita Jones. "They knew we were coming and then we couldn't come and I was afraid they'd lose their faith in us."

"I wish it would have come yesterday. I was watching for it," said Katlin Adams, 11, said Wednesday.

She can't believe someone would vandalize a bus that does so much good.

"I think it was really mean," Adams said.

Her grandmother, Beatrice Trent, agrees.

"They don't realize it hurts the children," Trent said.

Surveillance cameras captured video of the vandals. Police say it looks like six or seven teen boys and girls. They haven't identified any suspects yet.

"When they get caught, I'd like to go to court with them and request they do community service on our bus so they'll know what it is and what it does," Jones said.

Previous Story:  Ministry combats child hunger in Hawkins County

The program helps feed children during the summer months when school is out and regular meals aren't always available.

To make a donation to the Lunch Box program call Rita Jones in Rogersville at 423-921-8036; or call Jacqulyn Crawford in Church Hill at 423-256-2408. You can also mail a check to P.O. Box 207, Rogersville, TN 37857.
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