A string of burglaries has forced a much needed food pantry to shut its doors, and a local pastor is concerned that hundreds of students will have to go hungry.
A letter was mailed out to Bailey Middle School students saying the pantry located on campus, Bailey Community Nest, was shut down for safety reasons.
"Everything happened at night, so nobody was ever really in danger, but we wanted to make sure it was taken care of," says Pastor Tony.
Pastor Tony and other members with Grace Baptist church were the ones managing the food pantry.
They spent the weekend packing up and clearing out. He says the closure started as a safety concern, but the burglaries were becoming financially difficult to keep up with after constantly replacing food and locks.
"It's unfortunate," says Pastor Tony with Grace Baptist Church. "There were a lot of people who were receiving the help up there."
Hundreds of hungry students at Bailey Middle School were given free lunch and snacks by the food pantry. Their families and thousands of others in the community were fed as well.
The school district says there are other programs to help the students and their families. They sent out a letter telling parents about a monthly grocery pickup.
Pastor Tony says free food only once a month isn't enough for some of those families.
One of the things the pantry was provided was water, sports drinks, and snacks like oranges for sports teams and other after school activities.
Pastor Tony says there's no way the student athletes can have that anymore. "One of the comments we got from one of the agencies was 'well their booster program will help with that', but these kids' teams don't have booster programs," says Pastor Tony. "If they do, they don't have the money to support them like other schools do."
In a statement, CCSD said in part, "Student safety is always our number one priority. If hosting a food pantry on campus is also making the school vulnerable to repeated break-ins, it may be necessary to evaluate how the program is impacting that campus, with safety at the forefront."
Grace Baptist Church hopes the pantry is only closed temporarily, until they can find a way to keep the burglars out and away from the students. They hope to open again some time after Easter.