GROVE CITY, Pa. (KDKA) — A Grove City food pantry’s Thanksgiving dinner fund was wiped out after a brazen thief robbed the organization of money intended to help needy families during the holiday season.

For three decades, the Grove City Community Food Pantry has packed hundreds of dinners for those in need and local senior high rises.

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But the dinners this year almost didn’t happen.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

“This was people’s hard-earned money,” said Traci Gerard, executive director of the Grove City Community Food Pantry. “Behind the register is where I kept the turkey fund and when I came in, it was gone.”

The pantry said the alleged thief came in through Thrify Threads, a donation-driven store that helps fund the food pantry.

The person also stole money from the cash register, a big blow to the pantry that serves more than 550 needy families.

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“I had some real negative thoughts running through my head about the kind of person that would do this. But now after some time, the person thought of this as their only option, and we just pray for those people,” Gerard said.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Once word spread of the incident, the community support was overwhelming.

The pantry replenished its fund in time to buy more food.

“The money was recouped by the good community here almost immediately,” Gerard said. “We have received almost tenfold.”

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Police dusted the scene for prints but do not have any leads.