On the mend

Local nonprofit continues its work after being vandalized for the second time in four days

Local nonprofit continues its work after being vandalized for the second time in four days
Care Chest of Sierra Nevada is working to get up and running again after vandals broke into the nonprofits’ facility for the second time in four days, taking its fleet of three vehicles out of commission.

“So the first one was Thursday, and it was just one vehicle,” said Anne Schilling, executive director. “And they tried to drill out the ignition. To get into the vehicle, they tried to drill out the key lock in the door. And then today we came in and they’d broke into our outreach van that we take to do deliveries and go out to rural locations with. … They had broken out the back window. There was equipment and supplies strewn across the parking lot. And they’d taken things like diabetic testing strips and lancets and a blood pressure machine. And then our box truck—which was also parked in front—they did the whole drill thing … to the lock on the door. And then they went through everything in the cab. … They ripped out the light from the box truck, the cab … light.”

CARE Chest has served people in need by providing medical resources, free of charge—including equipment and supplies and prescription assistance—for three decades. The organization serves Washoe County and an additional eight surrounding counties using just a small pickup, a box truck and a van.

And since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Care Chest has had to suspend its pop-up locations from which supplies were distributed and switch entirely to deliveries, both in Washoe County and the rural areas it services.

“So we use the van for both of those, for both the rural locations and our in Reno-Sparks area deliveries,” said Schilling. “The box truck won’t go that far—it’s just not new enough, just not mechanically sound enough to take on those long trips—and the little truck is just a two-seater. … So, really, the only vehicle we can use is that van. So we’re trying to get that up and running as soon as possible.”

Schilling said the organization’s van is operational and needs only to have its window repaired. She also said she’s heard from several local businesses willing to help.

“We had Greg from Greg’s Garage, and then we had Mark from Fast Glass, who’ve reached out to us to try to help us get our vehicles fixed quickly—which is super amazing and cool, that the community is stepping up like that,” Schilling said. “I’m convinced and confident that we’ll get this taken care of because we have amazing community people and businesses that are so willing to help.”

With little indication of the vandals’ motives, Schilling is nonetheless exercising patience and hopes that getting word out about the incidents may dissuade future ones.

“It’s disheartening and unfortunate that people are so desperate right now that they turn to these types of things to get what they need,” she said. “We’re willing to help people. That’s why we’re here. We provide free services. If you need testing supplies, please let us know. We’d be helping you. If you need a blood pressure machine, we’d be helping you. I think they just stole those items because they probably think they can get money for them.”

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