Stewartsville food pantry robbed, Johnny Dare radio listeners raise over $2500 in support

STEWARTSVILLE, Mo. - A disappointing discovery turned into something positive in a small northwest Missouri town after a Kansas City radio show and its listeners lent a helping hand.

Last week, just after the Stewartsville Food Pantry stocked up on $600 worth of meat, someone broke into the building and stole nearly all of the supply.

Pantry founder Gwen Thornton first noticed the back door was wide open Friday afternoon. She said nothing looked out of the ordinary until she cracked open the meat freezer.

"There was nothing to look at," Thornton said. "There was one small turkey breast and a few packages of hamburger,"

The freezer had been stocked with enough meat to feed every client for months. Thornton said she was angry and disappointed at the same time.

"It's just an empty feeling in the bottom of your stomach," she said. "It's just gone."

The problem started turning around, though, around 8 a.m. Monday when Thornton received a phone call from "The Johnny Dare Morning Show." One of Thornton's friends contacted the radio program about the theft.

After hearing Thornton's story, host Johnny Dare put out the message and calls started pouring in. Now the show is sending Thornton a check for $2,500 and local grocery chain Cosentino's is even filling up her meat freezer.

Thornton was left speechless on the air. She claimed the money will take care of the pantry's operating costs for months and the freezer is stocked for a long time to come.

Thornton still hopes whoever took the original meat really needed it.

"Just don't waste it. To me that's a bigger sin than stealing," she advised.

Thornton said is installing new, stronger locks on the pantry's back door. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office said there are no leads in the case.

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