The food bank at the Corpus Christi Church in St. John's has suffered its second break-in this year.
Volunteers with the food bank say someone broke in through a window in the facility's attached garage sometime this past weekend. A freezer's worth of assorted meats, a case of margarine and snow tires, among other items, were stolen.
"This is a big blow to us," Katherine Fleming, a longtime volunteer with the food bank, told CBC News.
"Everything is free here … so it's a mystery as to why they would break into a food bank."
Fleming says the previous break-in happened in January, when thieves entered directly through the building.
Limited funds, cost of groceries adds to challenges
Corpus Christi Church, among dozens of other church properties, was sold to settle millions in abuse claims by former residents of the Mount Cashel orphanage.
The food bank has been operating from the church for over 40 years, Fleming said, but they aren't sure how much longer it will be able to operate on church property. Volunteers say they'll likely have to vacate the building once the sale is finalized.
But the food bank, which is volunteer-run, now operates on limited funds provided by parishioners and benefactors, says Fleming, and doesn't pay rent. So relocating to a new building would be extremely challenging.
"Paying for rent would be impossible," she said. "We'd probably have to close up."
The rising cost of groceries in the province adds to the challenges the food bank is already facing, Fleming said, and the break-in makes things even more difficult.
"We try to buy when things are on sale or on special at supermarkets," said Fleming. "The demand is greater now than it has been over the past few years."