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Church soup kitchen donation jar stolen in Langley

Christmas wasn’t ripped off by the Grinch, but the tip jar was.

Someone swiped a gallon container of donations at Christian Missionary Alliance Church in downtown Langley last week, just as the twice-weekly soup kitchen session was ending.

“The jar was probably full,” said Sharon Giberson, who runs the program on Tuesdays. “They’re usually pretty generous.”

“It’s the first time it ever happened,” Giberson said. “Everybody felt really bad.”

She said the theft probably occurred a little after 1 p.m. on Dec. 2. The kitchen serves lunch from about noon to 1:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Giberson, of Clinton, is a 30-year South End resident who helped set up the program nearly six years ago.

She said she and several volunteers were busy dispensing turkey noodle soup and leftover Thanksgiving pumpkin pie when the loss of the jar was discovered.

The container had been sitting in its usual place on a table up front.

“A customer said ‘Where’s the jar? I want to put in a donation.’ We looked, and it was gone,” Giberson said.

She said because of the container’s size, the thief probably tucked it under a coat. So far, there are no suspects.

“It’s not about the money,” Giberson said. “God will provide. I just feel sorry for the person who took it.”

The program serves soups, salads, breads and desserts to all who need a good meal, she said. Much of the food is donated by local bakeries and other businesses and individuals.

More than a dozen volunteers staff the program, she said. Some come in early to cook, others serve. The program routinely provides lunch for as many as 150 persons each session, she said.

“We get a lot of donations,” Giberson said. “It’s been a really fun community-type thing.”

She said Langley Mayor Paul Samuelson even set aside a week in October to honor the program, and presented a plaque.

Giberson said that at the following Tuesday session, she led a blessing and included the information that the donation jar had gone missing. She hopes when the word gets out, the thief will have an attack of conscience.

“I’d just like that person to come and talk to me,” Giberson said.

Meanwhile, a volunteer brought in a colorfully decorated cloth container to replace the missing jar.

“She tied it to the wall,” Giberson said.

The church is at Sixth and Cascade in downtown Langley. For information about the soup kitchen, call 221-6980.

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