SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Just when the Central Coast Rescue Mission in Santa Maria was gearing up for the holiday season, managers woke up to a couple of stolen catalytic converters from their pickup trucks.
“The holidays are already pretty busy, so having to scramble and be creative, you know, and all the things that COVID-19 has prepared for us, our reaction was pretty frustrating,” said interim director Chris Rutledge of the Central Coast Rescue Mission.
Rutledge says the trucks are a major part of the ministry helping hundreds of people in need across the central coast.
“We have over 100 donations from people all over the central coast who are giving us their very valuable donations,” said Rutledge.
Those donations go to some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
“I’ve been on the truck every day and we pick up loads Pismo, San Luis Obispo, and that’s how we get most of our stuff," said program participant Brian Dominguez of the Central Coast Rescue Mission.
“Luckily we are still able to pick up donations from our donors. We rented a moving truck so we’re still able to pick up all those donations. But we’re looking at a week or two, and may be a little bit longer before those repairs are made,” said Rutledge.
And those repairs aren’t expected to be cheap.
Rutledge says it will cost several thousand dollars for both replacements.
“People are desperate in 2020. That’s a lot of what’s fueling that. But my hope is that they stop doing this, and that we are able to recover from this, and keep helping the most vulnerable in the community,” said Rutledge.