CARPINTERIA, Calif. - Stealing from the poor. That's what one man says other volunteers were doing at a Central Coast charity. The man spoke out about what he saw go down.
The man, a former volunteer at the food bank, says he was asked to stop volunteering at the food bank in Carpinteria because he spoke up about the stealing. Central Coast News spoke with the organization who runs the food bank, and it said action was taken against the suspected thieves.
Paul Cavagnaro says the volunteers would "constantly hide food, take it out to their car when nobody was looking."
Cavagnaro volunteered at a Carpinteria food bank before being fired. He says he was fired for telling management that three volunteers were stealing food while he was working there.
"Anything that was there. Mostly milk, juices, meat, cheese," says Cavagnaro.
Cavagnaro says the workers would put food in bags and hide it in their cars. A friend of Cavagnaro took pictures of the carts the suspected thieves would use and even bags inside cars. Cavagnaro says he went to his supervisor at the food bank to tell her what was going on.
"I went to her and I said I wasn't there to cause trouble, but she ought to know people are stealing from her," says Cavagnaro.
According to Cavagnaro, his supervisor began treating him differently.
"She was just really rude to me," says Cavagnaro. "Wouldn't let me go inside anymore."
And then a week after Thanksgiving, Cavagnaro says his supervisor told him not to come back.
"She said 'we don't need you anymore. Go away. Go home.' So that's the day she fired me," he says.
Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Inc. runs the food bank. Central Coast News spoke with a regional coordinator over the phone who said he did not want to go on camera. He said he had made a trip to Carpinteria two days after Christmas, and he said he didn't see any proof of stealing. But he went on to say that 2 volunteers were let go whose names had been mentioned several times regarding stealing.
The regional coordinator for Catholic Charities of Los Angeles, Inc. did say that he is confident "the people doing this stealing are gone".
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