A London, Ont., charity that helps teach children and families about healthy eating has been temporarily closed thanks to thieves targeting copper wiring.
Growing Chefs Ontario, located at 460 King St., says the copper wiring from outside the building that connects its fridge and freezer monitors was stolen, not once, but twice. The first incident happened on Feb. 18, followed by another on March 29.
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London police are investigating the two theft reports. Police say the investigations are active and ongoing, and no arrests have been made.
When the thieves ripped all the copper out, they destroyed the charity’s fridge and freezer monitors. Growing Chefs Ontario has been closed for almost two months since, while they waited for new units to arrive.
The space is used to host events like weddings, cooking classes and birthday parties, with all of the proceeds going towards supporting the organization’s charity work.
“All of the funds that we raise through hosting those events go to fund our education programs. Not only that, it brings new people in the door and introduces them to the organization and the work that we do,” said co-founder and executive director Andrew Fleet.
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Fleet notes they do have insurance to help cover the loss, but it will require them to make sure the theft does not happen again and comes at a time when they were still trying to recover from pandemic closures.
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“So we’re actually going to have to, whenever these new units get in, we’re going to have to install them on the roof. We have to build an enclosure around them to protect them. And all of that … (it’s) not a cheap price tag, and it’s definitely not something that we were budgeting for this year,” Fleet said.
“I’d love to say this is one that we can absorb, you know, and just take it on the chin and keep going, and we’re doing our best to do that … but … we’ve been dealing with the constant opening and closing of the pandemic over the past couple of years.”
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The organization has primarily stayed closed over the last two years due to COVID, only running some small or take-out events, not wanting to compete with struggling restaurants, Fleet said.
This Friday, the organization has rented a refrigeration truck for its wood-fired pizza night. All of the details on how to get involved or how to pre-order a pizza are available on the organization’s website.
People who want to help the organization directly can do so on their website and receive a tax receipt.
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