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Thieves Swipe Thanksgiving From Sacramento Church, Community Rallying To Replace It

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A church hit by thieves is getting help from the community to give away food on Thanksgiving to families in need.

Thieves broke into the church's gymnasium and stole what they could have had for free—food for Thanksgiving.

Charlotte Barbee, the youth minister at Christ Temple Apostolic Church, just got a huge donation from her coworkers at UC Davis that she thought she'd be adding to her church's Thanksgiving dinner.

"I called the church to tell them I got more donations, everything's going to be fine," she said. "That's when I found out everything was gone, so it's kind of gut-wrenching—a devastating blow."

Thieves crashed through the church's gym window Friday taking all the food they were going to give to anyone who wanted a free Thanksgiving meal -- literally everything the church had gathered.

"What was given already was so significant. They took all of the turkeys that we had, all of the trimmings, potatoes, yams," said Barbee.

The church has seen plenty of hardship. They've closed nearly half of their building, because they couldn't raise $70,000 to fix a leaky roof. And the day after they housed the homeless in their gym for four nights last year, thieves broke in and took their sound system.

But word is getting out. People who have never been to the church are stopping by to give.

"I brought a couple of turkeys, some sparkling cider, some stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a smile," one man told CBS13.

It's the support from strangers that has all the volunteers at this church thinking of this crime as a blessing.

Barbee can't believe how much people are opening their hearts. She says there's no doubt that her church is coming out stronger, and she says this Thanksgiving feast will be something they're even more grateful for.

A church member donated a lock for their freezer on Friday, meaning it's secure and ready to be filled with even more turkeys.

They'll be collecting more food donations on Sunday at the church, hoping to replace the stolen food.

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