On Sunday, Feb. 20, Alice Assaly looks over vandalized appliances intended to help families and children in need. The Boys & Girls Club Name Your Price Thrift Store also makes it possible to keep open the doors of the club that serves the Mountain Communities' children with after-school programs. [Sturdevant photo]
By P. Hedlund and P. Sturdevant
Vandals struck the Boys & Girls Club Name Your Price Thrift Store in Lebec for a second time February 20. Similar destruction occurred about January 22-23. Founders Dave ‘da Handyman’ and Alice Assaly were despondent.
In a community where about 40 percent of the parents commute off the hill from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Boys & Girls Club provides safe, creative and stimulating after-school programs for the community’s children. The club is one of the great triumphs of the mountain, serving well over a thousand boys and girls with study programs and vacation art camps after school and during school holidays. None of this would be possible without the support of the thrift store started by Assaly, said club board president Linda MacKay. The store also aids those in need of clothing and household items when they are unable to pay.
In January and February, vandals entered into a fenced area at the back of the thrift store, but were not able to enter inside the building. They overturned and smashed stoves and refrigerators, scrambling items carefully sorted on storage bins by volunteers.
Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy Darren Wonderly responded to a distressed call on Sunday morning. He found some evidence allegedly left behind by the vandals.
In a short interview, Alice Assaly expressed bewilderment. “This is sheer destruction, there is nothing valuable they are looking for,” she said, wondering why anyone would be so destructive to a place that provides generous support to so many in need.
This is part of the February 25, 2011 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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