A local charitable organization has been victimized, and it turns out it’s not the first time. The House of Lazarus is a local not-for-profit organization based in Mountain which runs a thrift store in that town, a food bank in South Mountain, and a satellite thrift store and food bank location in Ingleside. The organization also runs over two dozen programs all dedicated to providing human compassion at a time when people need it the most. During the overnight hours between March 1 and March 2, the donation area of HOL’s main headquarters was burglarized and vandalised.
“To the visitors that destroyed and vandalized our donation area over night, you are not only stealing from us, but those in our community that rely on our support,” reads a social media post made by a member of the HOL team. “This is very disheartening to our staff and volunteers who work so hard day in and day out, to start their day off cleaning up ripped bags and boxes from others that disrespect our property. We see you, this needs to stop. We are working closely with the OPP to end this.”
Vicki Cane of HOL provided some insight regarding what happened at the property. She explained that a vehicle showed up, and the perpetrators ripped open bags and boxes and left most of what they rummaged through in a mess. The perpetrators did make off with a few items, but only what they could carry in their arms. The license plate of the vehicle that was used in committing the crime is not known, but the Ontario Provincial Police is currently conducting an investigation.
It wasn’t just the property’s donation area that was targeted. A relatively new shed that serves as an electronics recycling shed was also broken into. Although nothing was taken from the shed, the door was badly damaged which is unfortunate because HOL paid to have the shed built just last summer.
This is not the first time that the House of Lazarus property has been victimized. Vandalism and minor thefts have happened periodically in recent years, though nothing has happened to date that was quite as bold as what happened last week. Vicki explained that many people likely see HOL as an easy target, but given the significant impact of the most recent incident, the organization has chosen to take a firm stance this time, hence the social media post.
“We really respect the donations that the community gives us,” Vicki explained. “It was really disheartening to see those things dumped on the ground and pilfered through like that.”
Exactly what might possess someone to ransack the property of a local and trusted charitable organization? Vicki speculates that it’s a sign of the times. “There are more and more people in the community that are finding it tight,” Vicki added. While falling on hard times is not an excuse for criminal behaviour, it can often help to explain it. Exorbitant prices for necessities such as food, housing, and fuel have all put increasing economic pressure on individuals and families. Ironically, House of Lazarus exists to help people facing those exact struggles.
Vicki is reminding everyone that HOL is here to help, without any need to take drastic measures. “We’re here to support the community in any way we can,” she said. Visit https://hol.community/ for more information.