LENEXA, Kan. - A trailer filled with about 97,000 meals for veterans was stolen from a nonprofit organization in Kansas.
Paul Chapa, founder and president of Friends In Service of Heroes (F.I.S.H.), said a 5 x 8 trailer filled with 12,100 packages of food was taken. Each package provided six to eight servings, according to Chapa, which comes out to nearly 97,000 individual meals.
The trailer was parked at F.I.S.H. headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas, when it was stolen sometime in the evening or morning hours over the weekend, according to Chapa.
“What kind of person would do this?” Chapa said. “It was a big deal for us. I mean 12,100 meals just taken. What a punch in the gut that was.”
Chapa said the meals were prepared at NBKC, a local food bank. A company called The Pack Shack brought ingredients.
About 60 volunteers worked in shifts to create, pack and then load the meals into the trailer. Chapa said it took those volunteers about four hours in total.
F.I.S.H. planned to deliver the meals to the Kansas City Veterans Affairs Hospital on Nov. 21.
While the organization no longer has those packages, Chapa said they won’t stop the surprise delivery.
“We’re doing everything we can to fix this. I don’t want our vets to suffer so we’re going to figure something out,” he said. “The vets have no idea that this is going to happen – we just do these things. A lot of the veterans we serve are those who never ask for help.”
The Lenexa Police Department is investigating.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.