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Cave Junction food bank burglarized

CAVE JUNCTION — Cave Junction's lone food bank was burglarized Saturday night, canceling the normal Monday handouts.

Manager Tim Leyba said up to $600 worth of chicken and a bunch of canned goods and other nonperishable items were stolen by thieves, who tore down the door at the Doug Hoskins Resource Center, 481 S. Junction Ave.

The burglary was discovered by a janitor Sunday. A shopping cart was found with some items, but the guilty parties haven't been found.

The pantry is open only on Mondays, and while the pantry wasn't wiped out completely, it was unable to open Monday, according to Leyba.

Leyba said the pantry will be in business next Monday.

"We're going to be there for the people," Leyba said. "I'm not giving up at all."

The previous week the pantry served 177 adults and 62 children.

"We've had a big influx of homeless people, who thought they were going to be trimmigrants, thought they were going to be hired," he said, referring to the annual marijuana harvest.

He said he's also had families who lost jobs at the Rough & Ready Lumber mill, which was shut down last year.

There is a Bread of Life food bank in Selma, at 18255 Redwood Highway, but like the Doug Hoskins Center, it is open only on Monday afternoon.

The Illinois Valley Family Coalition, 535 E. River St., sometimes has emergency food and is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Friday.

But Executive Director Karen Yanase said their food often comes from the Doug Hoskins Center.

The theft was only the latest in an unrelenting wave of property crime and vandalism afflicting Cave Junction, including break-ins in recent days at the post office and the Little League shed at Jubilee Park.

Earlier this year the Illinois Valley public library was broken into and badly trashed. Vandals have also targeted the city pool, the wastewater plant, public schools and parks, and several businesses and churches.

The city has no police force, relying instead on a part-time deputy on contract with the Josephine County Sheriff's Office, which has not been able to provide 24-hour patrol coverage anywhere in the county since budget cuts decimated the agency in 2012. Chelsey McCarthy of Grants Pass, a former resident of the Illinois Valley, told KTVL-TV she was going to pick up items in Grants Pass to supplement the food bank.

"It made me cry, honestly," McCarthy said. "It's right before the holidays where food banks are hit the most, and the food and donations are the scarce."

— Reach reporter Jeff Duewel at 541-474-3720 or jduewel@thedailycourier.com