A community’s response has been praised after food donated to an Epping Forest charity to help those in need was stolen in a “shameful act”.

Thieves broke into two storage units belonging to emergency food agency 3Food4U in Ongar in the early hours of Tuesday last week and stole the entire food contents.

The charity’s founder and chair of trustees Pesh Kapasiawala expressed his disgust at the theft and said: “This is a shameful act by a professional gang profiting from a foodbank and the community we support. How low can these criminals get?”

Despite the theft, Pesh is refusing to let the theft affect the charity’s operation and Thursday’s community surplus hub in the town was able to continue as normal.

Pesh said: “Again huge thanks to our brilliant compassionate team of volunteers who won't be deterred.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

Volunteers at the Ongar hub

Praising the way in which the wider community has rallied round following the incident, Pesh said 3Food4U had received a lot of support from businesses, schools and community groups.

The charity needs all types of long life cupboard food including tinned meat/fish/veg, cereal, cooking sauces, pasta, rice, biscuits, tea and coffee and is it looks to replace its stolen food supplies.

Items can be donated at:

  • 3Food4U’s charity shop at 20 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey EN9 1EE, Monday to Saturday from 9.30am-1.30pm
  • Balgores in Loughton or Ongar, Monday to Saturday from 9am to 6pm.
  • Any of the charity’s community surplus hubs during opening hours.

An Essex Police spokesperson said: “We are currently investigating a business burglary, which took place at a charity on Ongar High Street at around 1am on Tuesday, 5 July.

“Enquiries are ongoing and this remains under investigation.

“If you have any information, CCTV, dash cam or other footage in relation to this incident, then please get in contact with us.”

3Food4U’s community surplus hubs are open as follows:

  • Monday: Waltham Abbey – 13, Sun Street - 11.30am to 1pm
  • Tuesday: Loughton – Loughton Club, 8, Station Road - 11.30am to 1pm
  • Wednesday: Chigwell Row – All Saints Church Hall, Romford Road - 5pm to 6.30pm
  • Thursday: Ongar – Zinc Arts Centre, High Street - 1pm to 2.30pm
  • Friday: Waltham Abbey – 13, Sun Street - 11.30am to 1pm

For further details, visit 3food4u.org, email info.3food4u@gmail.com or call 01992 842642.