Fire destroys local food pantry, closes store
TEMPLE, Texas (KWTX) – St. Vincent De Paul in Temple can’t serve the more than 1,000 clients it typically sees in a month after a fire destroyed its food pantry and warehouse Monday.
Temple firefighters responded to the warehouse fire at around 3:15 a.m. Monday.
Heavy smoke was coming from the building and flames were visible inside the building when the first crews arrived.
No one was injured but all the food, refrigerators, freezers and storage inside were destroyed.
“There is a lot of stuff in there that was going to help a lot of the less fortunate and needy people of Bell County,” board President, Cindy Snodgrass said Tuesday.
The fire also destroyed many of the winter items St. Vincent De Paul was getting ready to sell including Christmas decorations for families that can’t afford to buy from retail stores, as well as coats, blankets and sleeping bags the charity typically gives to the homeless to get through winter.
St Vincent De Paul closed its thrift store because of water damage, and expect repairs to take two months.
Snodgrass says it’s already been a rough year, with the thrift store forced to close for months during COVID-19 shutdowns, while the need in community continued to grow.
“There are more and more families out there that have nowhere to go,” Snodgrass said.
The store had been open for just a month when the fire broke out, forcing it to close again, leaving many homeless who volunteer there with nowhere to go.
Staff will be at the thrift store on Tuesdays and Thursdays to collect donations of coats and blankets and any monetary donations people may want to drop off.
They are asking all food donations be made during the annual Food for Families drive on Nov. 20 at Baylor Scott & White in Temple.
“We have helped a lot of families in Bell County come back from tragedy and fires. Now it’s time that we need the community to help us,” Snodgrass said.
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