Larry Norfolk, coordinator of the St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank, stands next to shelves emptied by a thief. The theft occurred at 5 a.m. July 29. The burglary remains under police investigation.
“In cooperation with Larry Norfolk of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Northern Arizona Food Bank, local grocery stores including Williams Safeway and with the continued support of local food drives in this community, I hope to keep helping those in need,” said Guy Mikkelsen, Jr., coordinator of the food bank.
The Williams Emergency Food Bank was left in limbo after the death of Joe Bowman earlier this year. Due to health, Joe’s widow, Georgia, was unable to maintain the food bank. That is when Mikkelsen stepped in and volunteered to continue the food bank.
“I want to again recognize the Bowmans for their civic contributions through the years and look forward to being a helpful resource for the community in the future,” said Mikkelsen.
The food bank is open every Friday from 1-4 p.m. at the St. Agnes recreation room. Those in need are invited at that time. In emergency cases, Mikkelsen suggests calling (928) 635-2913.
Currently, the food bank serves between 50 and 100 clients monthly and distributes an average of 250 food boxes. Unfortunately, the food bank was forced to shut its doors hours early on July 30. An unknown individual burglarized the St. Vincent de Paul food closet at approximately 5 a.m. on July 29.
Items taken included cereal, coffee, oatmeal, noodles, rice, diapers, toilet paper, soup and chili. The value of the missing items is estimated to be between $500 and $700. A witness stated that at approximately 5 a.m., he observed a red car described as an early to mid-1990s Honda Accord, parked next to the shed with the passenger door open. He noted a male subject standing next to the open doors of the shed. The witness told the Williams Police Department that he did not call authorities because he believed the man was affiliated with St. Vincent de Paul.
A second witness reported that at 5 a.m. he was walking his dog along the south edge of the church parking lot. He observed a maroon vehicle that he described as a two-door, early 1990s Honda or Toyota sedan back out of the area the food had been stored.
“We are having to turn people away today because there is nothing left to give,” said Norfolk.
By 1:20 p.m. that day, the cupboards were bare at the food bank.
“What saddens me is if you asked me for everything in this room, I would have given it to you,” said Norfolk, in reference to the thief.
Norfolk was grateful to the WPD for their efforts in investigating the burglary.
“Detective McCarthy was here all day yesterday,” he said. “He kept returning and interviewing witnesses.”
Volunteers such as Marty Merryman and Bob Shook travel to Phoenix on a regular basis to obtain food from the Phoenix St. Vincent de Paul, Norfolk said.
The burglary has not dampened Norfolk’s enthusiasm for volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul and the Williams Emergency Food Bank. He’s looking forward to working closely with Mikkelsen.
“He’s (Mikkelsen) a giver, not a taker. He’s a great guy,” said Norfolk.
Anyone with information regarding the burglary of St. Vincent de Paul is asked to call the WPD at (928) 635-4461.