Kentucky food pantry destroyed by arson, just two weeks before Thanksgiving, police say

Published 8:59 pm Monday, November 15, 2021

A central Kentucky food pantry that helps feed hundreds of people each month has been destroyed by an arson fire less than two weeks before Thanksgiving, officials said.

After the blaze on Sunday, the Garrard County Food Pantry was deemed a total loss after Sunday’s blaze, said Gregory Cash, who helps run the pantry. He told news outlets that 200 Thanksgiving turkeys that were brought in the day before were among the items destroyed.

“We hand out about a million pounds of food here a year. Feed about 400 seniors and 800 families a month. It’s not sunk in yet really what happened,” Cash told WKYT-TV.

“I don’t know where we’ll go, but if we have to, we’ll do it off of the back of my truck and trailer, that’s fine until we get something built. We’re not going to stop.”

Hours after the blaze, police arrested a woman who was seen on surveillance tape at the scene and charged her with second-degree arson and first-degree criminal mischief, Lancaster Police Chief Rodney Kidd said.

According to an arrest citation, surveillance video shows the woman rummaging through some cardboard and paper on the side of the building and investigators said she admitted to putting a lit cigarette on the items, WLEX-TV reported.

Officials said no one was inside the food pantry at the time of the fire, and no injuries were reported.

Kentucky State Police and the Lancaster Police Department planned a drive later this week to collect food and money for the pantry.