SOMERS POINT — Volunteers rolled up their sleeves Saturday to clean-up, paint and put the Little League snack stand back together. Vandals kicked in the door to the snack stand sometime between Tuesday, Oct. 3, and Saturday, Oct. 5, when the mess was discovered.
According to Dan Foreman, president of Somers Point Little League, volunteers found the door jamb was broken along with the lock. They entered the building to find chocolate syrup smeared on the floor, the cash register missing, sodas spilled and all the candy gone. Some items were taken from the freezer but the bigger problem was the freezer was left open by the vandals and everything defrosted and could not be used.
Foreman said a police report was filed and officers did come to assess the damage. “We think it was kids; they took all the candy that was in here, and we found the wrappers in one of the dugouts and ice cream wrappers were left behind as well.”
Some of the Little League moms who staff the snack stand throughout the season posted on Facebook shortly after the break-in was discovered. The response was swift, with people offering help along with money to replace the stolen items and defer costs. Locksmith Paul Huber, a member of the Somers Point Recreation Board, was quick to offer his services, replacing the locks and repairing the doorjamb, making it secure.
Volunteer Jen Kich said it was disheartening to see the snack stand after the break-in. “We are all just volunteers here. During the season we are here four to five nights a week, making sure the kids have a good experience. What makes it even more difficult to swallow is that the kids who did this, they may very well be kids that we have met and who have come here after a game for a hot dog.”
Her sentiments were echoed by Jessica Farrell, who said, “It is extremely disheartening; we feel violated because we all put so much effort to make this a positive thing for the kids and their families. We know its children who did this, but it is still so disheartening.”
But the volunteers could not say enough about how the community stepped up to lend their support. “People have been so generous, and that is really the silver lining to all of this, that our community really does care,” said Farrell.
The volunteers, with muscle from some of the dads and the coaches, moved out the equipment and the clean up began in earnest with rubber gloves, scrub brushes, brooms, mops and sponges. They cleaned up the mess and started painting the inside of the stand. Though not originally planned, Farrell said the funds raised allowed them to purchase the paint and take care of a job that was badly needed. The snack stand will be sporting a fresh coat of blue when the first pitch is tossed out in the spring.
The Little League volunteers would like parents to pass along any information they may have of the break-in or the whereabouts of the missing cash register. (No money was stolen. The register was empty.)