Catalytic converters stolen from Meals on Wheels vans ahead of Christmas deliveries

Published: Dec. 12, 2022 at 6:29 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - With Christmas right around the corner, The Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association (MIFA) says it needs donations now more than ever after catalytic converters were stolen off several of their delivery vans Sunday night.

Staff members at MIFA say the thefts couldn’t have come at a worse time.

“It’s really creating a bottleneck for us,” said Director of Fleet Management Craig Woods.

Woods says he’s frustrated and angry because those catalytic converters were stolen from five Meals on Wheels vans that were scheduled to deliver food to the needy Monday morning.

“We started coming in about 6:30 this morning... and when we went to warm up the vehicles for the day, we turned them on... It was a very loud noise, so we knew at that time that our catalytic converters had been taken off of our vehicles,” Woods said.

He says he suspects someone cut the metal fence to get inside.

Precious metals found inside those converters can cost thousands of dollars, but the meals those vans would have carried are priceless to hungry senior citizens.

“It’s very like, heartbreaking,” Woods said. “You know that these seniors could possibly not get their meals, and someone could just come in and take these catalytic converters off knowing that this is what we do daily.”

Those seniors were able to get their meals on Monday, but the burglary puts MIFA in a tight spot for future deliveries.

Driver routes include 60-70 stops, so losing the vehicles significantly increases the workload.

“This is very critical because next week is our Christmas delivery, so we’re doubling up on boxes,” Woods said. “We’re going to need additional space, so we’re probably not going to be able to double up next week because we really need those vehicles... the routes are going to be big because we’re giving seniors two times the amount of food.”

Woods also says that a Meals on Wheels driver was carjacked earlier this summer, so they’re installing GPS on their vehicles now.

Right now, MIFA needs donations and volunteer time more than ever.

“Donations are very critical because it goes toward us being able to feed our seniors and just getting those meals out... so, it’s just... it’s really critical right now,” Woods said.

To donate to Meals on Wheels, click here.

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