Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Help nonprofit recover losses after theft

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Jan. 2, 2014 at 6 p.m.
Updated Jan. 1, 2014 at 7:02 p.m.

The holiday season is normally seen as a time of giving and sharing. But this year, the Victoria Area Homeless Coalition found itself the victim of theft instead of generosity.

A week before Christmas, the coalition lost $1,800 when forgers used falsified checks to raid its bank account. A police report was filed and the bank returned some of the funds, but the culprits have not been identified, Kim Pickens, president of the coalition, said.

"We were very close to zero," she said.

Identity theft is a horrible experience for anyone, and this instance is especially disgusting because the thieves were stealing from not just a private citizen but a nonprofit group that helps some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

The money had many uses, Pickens said, including helping people pay the fees to get forms of identification needed to apply for housing, employment and other forms of assistance.

"No other agencies in the Victoria area supply a means to help people get driver's licenses and birth certificates," Pickens said, emphasizing the coalition's desire to fill in the services people cannot find elsewhere.

In addition, the money was also going to be used to purchase items to be included in care packages given out during the annual homeless count later this month.

Thankfully, some community members have stepped up to help. Pickens said about $980 in donations have come in as of Monday. In addition, the coalition is also accepting donations of items for the care packages. The coalition needs sleeping bags, new white cotton socks, nail clippers, toothbrushes, small boxes of baking soda, individually packaged snacks and new underwear in both youth and adult sizes. Items can be dropped off at Pine Street Community Center or at the office of Pam Raley, CPA, 3402 John Stockbauer Drive, during normal business hours. Those who prefer to send in monetary donations can mail them to Victoria Area Homeless Coalition, P.O. Box 3623, Victoria, TX 77903.

We encourage members of the Victoria community to rally behind the Homeless Coalition to help it recover from the greedy acts of others. With a little help from us, the nonprofit will be back to where it was or better and residents' generosity can help provide for those less fortunate in our community.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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