Santa’s Pantry turns vandalism incident into lesson in ‘paying it forward’
ELKHART — An Elkhart charity is using an incident of criminal mischief to the group’s building as a learning experience for local youth.
When Debbie Micola, president of Santa’s Pantry, saw the scribbles sprayed across the front of the building the charity uses Tuesday, Oct. 29, it brought her to tears.
“It just knocked the feet out from underneath me,” she said.
The building, located at 1024 N. Nappanee St., is owned by the Linton family. The Lintons donated use of the building to Santa’s Pantry in January.
Micola said she didn’t know how they were going to cover or remove the graffiti, but several local groups volunteered to help paint it over if the paint was provided.
Then Rollie Williams donated the paint for the project.
On Saturday, Nov. 9, several groups, including the Bristol Cub Scouts, Girls Scouts, Tolson Center and the Pay It Forward Club, will paint over the graffiti.
The painters will meet at 10 a.m. at the Santa’s Pantry building and anyone is welcome to come help, Micola said.
Officers from the Elkhart Police Department will be there to speak to the youth about graffiti, drugs and gangs.
“This has turned into a great way for not only us to teach children about paying it forward but for parents to use it as a learning tool also,” Micola said.