Volunteers inspect damage after vandals hit YAM Building

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Volunteers at Yorktown Assistance Ministry were greeted with busted sign, broken windows, graffiti and a lot of clean-up when reporting for duty on Wednesday, Aug. 20 at the old City Hall building on North Eckhardt Street. Vandals had attacked the building not once, but twice, in one week.
 
Workers tiptoed gingerly over glass shards and sweated through the morning heat pouring in through the busted windows while helping clients on Wednesday, while YAM officials tried to decide what to do about the damages. According to Kathy Frels, city officials had been notified and city workers were due to repair the broken windows and doors.
 
“It’s a shame,” Frels said, pointing to the broken windows. “This place is here to help the needy in the community, and then this happens.” 
 
Frels noted vandals struck sometime during Sunday night and the damage was discovered on Monday morning by someone leaving a donation at the site. Workers spent Tuesday cleaning up the debris only to discover more vandalism had occurred again on Tuesday night, leaving another mess to clean up on Wednesday morning.
 
A brief inspection of the facility on Wednesday morning revealed a damaged YAM sign, broken windows all the way around the structure, damaged doors and graffiti. In addition, vandals left behind a broken big screen TV which had been left as a donation, its screen completely shattered. Despite efforts by YAM volunteers, shards of glass still lay everywhere, waiting to be cleaned up.
 
“They could have sold that TV. Someone could have used it,” a volunteer said, pointing to the now-broken big screen TV standing next to the donation box outside.
 
Joseph Jendrzey, another YAM volunteer, was equally upset with the vandalism as he pointed out broken glass and damages. “It’s just sad,” Jendrzey said, shaking his head.
 
A stack of rocks, apparently used by the vandals, sat in a corner on the porch of the building. A large paver was also used to cause the destruction.
 
“Who knows the mind of an idiot?” longtime YAM volunteer Larry Odom said of the vandalism. Odom was busy working in the building’s food pantry Wednesday morning while his wife, Sue, worked on client paperwork in the office. Sue Odom fanned herself with papers, pointing out the broken window behind her. She voiced her displeasure at the vandalism, stating she wished the public would realize the importance of YAM. “We just try to serve the public. We help a lot of senior citizens, women with children. We’re run totally by volunteers.” 
 
Sue Odom said YAM is a Christian ministry supported through churches and individual donations. 
 
“We try to keep our overhead low, basically the electric bill.” She pointed to a used computer donated to the facility, stating “YAM doesn’t have a phone. We all use our own cell phones,” referring to YAM volunteers. 
 
Frels pointed out the organization has a partnership with the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent, where food is purchased for 19 cents per pound for local residents.
 
YAM raises money through its resale shop, of which proceeds are used toward utilities and the purchase of food. Donations of usable clothing and items are accepted from the public in the drop box located outside the facility. The big screen TV was left next to the donation box and wound up being destroyed by the vandals, a loss for the center as well as those local residents who would have benefitted through the sale of the TV through food purchases from the food bank.
 
YAM has purchased a lot at the corner of North Church and Fifth Street and is currently raising money to build a new facility at the location. YAM supporter Bill Tapp is heading up this project. Donations to this endeavor are greatly appreciated. For more information, contact YAM director Sharon Metting at 361-564-3260.
 
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