SUNBURY — Workers at Haven Ministry in Sunbury were preparing to decorate the homeless shelter for Christmas. When a staff member looked for the nativity set earlier this week, she noticed Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus were gone.
“For someone to steal Baby Jesus from a church community that only gets donations, that’s horrible,” volunteer Victoria Barbati said.
People at Haven Ministry say the nativity set was inside this shed, which is always left unlocked so people can drop off donations for the homeless shelter after hours.
“We’d never had anyone tamper with it,” Pamela Steffen said.
Pamela Steffen is the executive director at Haven Ministry. She says the nativity set has been a staple at the homeless shelter in Sunbury for as long as she can remember.
“If someone had asked me if they could have had it, I probably would have given it to them. Because we’re run on donations, we aren’t able to just run out and get another one,” Steffen said.
Fortunately this Grinch did not ruin Christmas. Steffen says a local couple heard about what happened and decided to donate money for a brand new nativity set.
“The kindness that people show when you least expect it is what a homeless shelter is all about. We’re trying to keep that hope going here. He’s restored my faith,” Steffen said.
Shelter resident Sandy Bilby is anxious to see the new nativity set.
“People admire Christmas things. They enjoy it. It’s a sign of Christmas,” Bilby said.
Steffen says the new nativity set will be displayed within range of security cameras, and then locked up after Christmas.