Community pitches in to clean North San Juan Community Center after vandalism | TheUnion.com

Community pitches in to clean North San Juan Community Center after vandalism

Whatever food the North San Juan Community Center had was on the floor or the walls.

About 1,000 eggs were taken during a weekend break-in, as was flour, Worcestershire sauce and other items. The vandals spread or tossed them throughout the building, leaving a mess discovered Saturday morning when the center's cook stepped inside, said Ana Acton, president of the community center's board.

"They threw the eggs all over," Acton said. "They cooked themselves some hamburger meat."

Signs of the vandalism are now gone, scrubbed away after some 40 volunteers spent hours over the weekend removing them. The destruction isn't expected to impact the center's operations, Acton said.

A weekly Tuesday lunch will resume next week. The third Thursday food bank will occur as scheduled, she said.

"It turned out to be a really good example of what can happen when the community comes together," Acton said.

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The perpetrators broke into the center between Thursday, when it held its monthly food bank, and Saturday, Acton and authorities said.

Food was taken from the pantry and thrown through the center, Acton said. Someone dumped flour in three large sinks. A TV was broken, said Jeannine Bourdeaux, one of the people who helped clean the facility.

"Anywhere you looked, there was something to clean," Bourdeaux said.

Bourdeaux took photos and posted them to Facebook. Word of mouth and the Internet led people to arrive on Saturday and start cleaning, she said.

"They totally scrubbed the place down," Acton said. "They literally had to use flat-head shovels to clean."

The center still needs help. Acton started a GoFundMe page to raise funds for more food, a security system, new TV, new locks and a reward for identifying the perpetrators. The website — http://www.gofundme.com/NSJCommunityCenter — had raised $675 out of its $2,000 goal as of Tuesday afternoon.

"We know the community will come together," Acton said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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