EFFORT, Pa. -- The director of a church food pantry in the Poconos is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the congregation.
Police say Henry McCormick, 54, of Effort, the pantry director at Effort United Methodist Church, spent nearly $30,000 on Visa gift cards.
According to court papers, McCormick admitted to police to not only buying Visa gift cards with church money, but also using some of the cards for personal purchases.
Newswatch 16 spoke to members of the church who were shocked when they heard about the charges against one of their members.
"I just feel devastated because I really like the family. I just can't believe he would do something like this. It just doesn't, it doesn't fit," said a church volunteer.
According to court papers, McCormick admitted to using money from the church account to buy Visa gift cards. He also admitted to using some cards for personal purchases.
Members say that money came from years' worth of grants and donations.
In a statement to Newswatch 16, the church pastor said, "at this point, we are praying for everyone concerned and will have a formal comment by tomorrow."
Members of the church say the food pantry will operate as normal. But right now, they are asking everyone who is a part of the church to stick together during this difficult time.
"I would just like everyone to pray for the congregation. We all need to pull together now. This is something that has never happened before to us," said Brenda Mitchell.
Mitchell is the Christian Education Director at the church and says the whole situation is sad for the church, its members, and the volunteers who do so much.
"It's no reflection of the church. Everyone, please keep your faith. This should not shake anyone's faith," Mitchell said.
According to the magistrate's office, Henry McCormick will not be arraigned on these charges but instead head at a preliminary hearing scheduled for June 1.