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By Henrietta J. Burroughs                    Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                        Facebook    Twitter         Blog
April 24, 2015                                        EPA Today Facebook page Follow epatoday on Twitter EPA Today Blog Icon


Cut fence at the EHP campus        Vandalized EHP van
Cut fence at the Ecumen-         Missing battery in EHP van 
cal Hunger Program's campus


It's been a difficult time for the Ecumenical Hunger Program. For the second time in 12 months, the agency has fallen victim to vandalism. This time, vandals cut the front gate to get onto the EHP campus and burglarized two vans.

The damage was discovered when staff members arrived for work on Tuesday, April 21. They saw the cut gate and found that the two burglarized vans had their batteries stolen, cables cut and their windows smashed.

EHP uses its cargo van for smaller pick-ups and drop offs and its passenger van to transport youth members to their homes after group meetings at the agency. Because of the vandalism, the youth now have to make other arrangements to get to and from their campus meetings.

Leisa Preston, the agency's executive director said that she called the police to report the vandalism and was initially told that the police "don't come out for these type of incidents."

EHP does have cameras installed around its campus, and the vandals were shown on camera, but their faces were covered and they were not identifiable.

Preston said that the agency is doing its best. The Ecumenical Hunger Program supplies free food, clothing and services to hundreds of families in East Palo Alto and Menlo Park and provides other services to families in other nearby cities.

"The last time they broke out the windows in our vans and removed the entire rear window in our truck. All the batteries were stolen and they cut the gas line.  Gas and glass were all over our parking lot," Preston said, referring to the first vandalism.

"We will need support from the community to combat these issues." Preston said. "This is costly for us replacing and repairing items. Plus, it throws off our schedule. Our van is used for small donation pick ups daily."

The estimated cost of the latest vandalism was put at $2,000.

EHP's staff is now seeking to purchase and install a wrought iron fence.  "We want to make sure our community is protected and that we can continue to serve and make a difference in our clients’ lives," Preston said.

EHP is seeking the public's help in identifying those who committed the latest damage and it is also seeking donations. Those wanting to help can visit the organization's website at ehcares.org, select donate, and include “New Gate” in the memo section of the donation form.

To contact Henrietta J. Burroughs, the author of the above article, send an email to epatoday@epatoday.org