CHEEKTOWAGA, NY, – Despite an act of thievery which is hampering their mission, volunteers at the Resurrection Life Church food pantry are undaunted.

On Friday, a thief stripped their 18 foot box truck, affectionately known as “Samson” of its two catalytic converters.

The theft occurred at about 6pm Friday according to footage gleaned from a security camera.

The images captured, according to Pastor Dan Manns, are too grainy to be of much use to police as they investigate the theft which will cost the church $4,000 to repair.

The Mighty Samson

“In 2017 we did about 700,000 pounds of food and in 2018 we're probably gonna break that number and get closer to a million," Manns told WGRZ-TV.

Samson was used to pick up and deliver food by the pallet full, according to Louis Gallo, a retired Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy who is the intake manager at the food pantry.

“It has a lift which brings them right onto the truck so that we can make deliveries,” Gallo said.

Without Samson, Gallo was set to load his own pickup truck, by hand, in order to make a scheduled delivery of foodstuffs Monday night to the Maryvale Senior Center, where it will be distributed to eight needy households.

"If it happens to be raining or snowing we're gonna have to get a tarp and cover it, and do the best we can," Gallo said.

The bigger concern, however, is this Thursday when the food pantry is scheduled to deliver to four locations in order to accommodate 100 needy families.

By then, it is hoped the box truck will be repaired and returned to service. However, with or without Samson, Manns is confident the work will get done.


“Our volunteers always rise up… they see it as an opportunity to overcome," he said, in describing the rallying cry that has gone out for volunteers to use their own cars to deliver the goods if needed.

“Knowing our volunteers and knowing who they are, they'll step up," said Manns, who would find it ironic if the thief acted in order to get money for food. After all, he noted, the food pantry would have helped them.

One could look at the theft of a catalytic converter from a truck used to bring food to the hungry as a heinous act.

Or you could look at it as they do.

“I think it illustrates there is a lot of people hurting and a lot of need in this community,” said Manns. “We’re not angry or bitter we just look at it as something to overcome. “We'll get past it…we're gonna win. We always win. We just don't quit."