ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Nash County nonprofit is still searching for answers after someone stole thousands of dollars of essential equipment off their property.
Ripe for Revival, which services local food deserts with a pay-what-you-can business model, had four generators stolen off its mobile markets last week.
"It limits what we can do to serve the community -- and probably the community in which they live in because we serve 30 counties in eastern North Carolina -- you know, it's just really disheartening to know that there's people out there that have complete disregard," said CEO and founder Will Kornegay.
Kornegay said the generators, which were valued at around $10,000 including the custom weldings they were fixed to, were sawed off the front of the nonprofit's buses overnight between Monday and Tuesday last week. The theft leaves the nonprofit unable to power the refrigerators and freezers that keep their food fresh. As a result, Ripe for Revival has had to scale down to 10% of usual operations.
"There are other, you know, immeasurable costs involved with this and so all in all, they took $10,000 from us and even more from the community because of what we've been unable to do with the capacity that's been taken from us," Kornegay said.
Now, the community is trying to help the local organization that so frequently helps the community.
"Rocky Mount's a small town. Most people know each other. And so I think when there's a need everybody jumps in because there is kind of a family atmosphere to our community. Even when you see bad things like this, it is not reflective of the city as a whole," said Dayton Hartman, a local pastor involved with the nonprofit.
Hartman said the community's response -- raising $5,500 in a week through an online fundraiser -- speaks to what Ripe for Revival means to the people of Eastern North Carolina.
"I think it shows that one, people recognize the need, and they recognize that Ripe for Revival is uniquely positioned to go into food deserts, into communities that are experiencing lot of food insecurity and meet the deep need of hunger," Hartman said.
Kornegay, meanwhile, said his team intends to power through, with or without the power equipment they need to operate.
"It's a shame that a thief can come in and kind of steal our power, but they can't steal our hope and they can't steal our drive," he said.
He said they plan to use the funds raised to replace the generators and hopefully install fencing for their lot and add security cameras. Rocky Mount police officers are investigating the theft, but as of Tuesday, they said there was no update in their investigation.