Reporting Beth Germano
ACTON (CBS) – The Acton Lions Club is trying to figure out how to make up for the loss of thousands of dollars stolen during a fundraiser on the fourth of July.
The club had set up a food booth at NARA park, selling burgers and hot dogs to help raise money for its many charitable causes.
A cash box with as much as $5,000 that was stashed in a member’s car, was stolen by heartless thieves as the group was cleaning up for the night before the start of fireworks.
“It’s very likely somebody had their eye on us, casing it at sometime during the event and realizing a lot of cash was being gathered,” said club member Brian Lentrichia. “It totally surprised us because nothing like that has ever happened before.”
Lentrichia admitted that members should have been more careful with the cash, leaving it in an unlocked car but he’s still stunned.
“If they knew that literally the money was going to local charities, and kids aren’t going to camp this summer because they took the money,” said member Mike Godley.
Among those relying on the charitable dollars is the Doli Atamian Campership, a non-profit that sends needy children to summer camp.
Director Betty McManus says this week she had to notify sixteen children they were being put on a waiting list.
“I have sent letters out warning them. It’s the first time I had to do this,” said McManus.
The Acton food pantry says it’s in a similar situation, with some of that money helping pay for its operation.
“What to do now, that’s a good question. We’ll have to take it from something else,” said Donna Botteri, of Acton Community Supper.
The Lions Club hopes the thieves will have a change heart and return the money to Acton town hall with no questions asked.
If not, the members say they’ll have to redouble their efforts at upcoming fundraisers.
“It’s not easy to make up the money,” said Lentrichia.