Church bus vandalism rectified by Reser’s Fine Foods
TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - In the early morning of 2 May 2023, Members of In God’s House Church arrived at 1616 NE Seward Ave to hold a prayer service. Melanie Odum, wife to Pastor Curtis Odum noticed something odd about their new bus but determined it be nothing of concern. Shortly after, they would learn that they had become the targets of overnight vandals.
“I kind of noticed there was some black stuff but I thought it was like dew drying,” she said, recounting the moments leading up to the discovery. “And so when my husband came out here he went around on the other side and noticed they had broke the windows out.”
They had purchased the bus from another congregation just before the vandalism occurred. Without time to get insurance or even the title in their hands, they were going to have to absorb the cost of repairs from their own pockets.
Racist, vulgar messages were scrawled across the ceiling, windows were broken and spray painted, and the church was feeling disheartened.
Pastor Odum told 13 News that the bus was intended for use serving the community.
“We dont even know why they had a mind to do it because the bus the whole idea was for us to help the community that we live and work in,” he said. “It just broke my heart, it really did.”
Fortunately, someone was paying attention to their situation. Jeff Adair, director of facilities management for Reser’s Fine Foods, and his crew at felt compelled to help their neighbors in their time of need.
“These folks are our neighbors and something bad happened to them,” he said. “And our shop became aware of it. They wanted to reach out and help and we have the ability to do so.”
Adair’s team picked up the bus and immediately got to work collecting donations for parts. After many hours of hard work, they successfully refurbished the bus from top to bottom at no cost to the church.
“To me, the monetary value isn’t important,” said Adair. “It’s the fact that these folks are our neighbors. We want people to know that Reser’s is here in the community, we’re here to stay and we want to be good neighbors.”
The bus was unveiled Wednesday morning at In God’s House Church in Topeka.
“I’m just amazed I really am i’m just over overjoyed. and Resers is just really now they got a brand new space in my heart and my mind now cause I know they’re doing more than just food they’re doing community love and pulling people together and thats thats huge.”
The vandals were caught and identified at a 15 and 16 year-old. TPD gave their case to the Shawnee County District Attorney’s office to decide any charges.
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