Church's Christmas Donation Jar at Local Store Stolen

PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) A holiday donation jug was taken and it's left a Philadelphia church with a lot less to give to local children this Christmas.

After our story aired Wednesday night, a man named Clifford from Sicklerville, New Jersey, called the church and donated $500. And Thursday, local businesses and pastors from other churches donated to the toy drive as well.

For over 20 years at Christmas time, a donation jar has sat on a table at a Frankford Thriftway supermarket so people could donate money to buy toys for children from the neighborhood surrounding the Faith Assembly of God.

The jar was chained to the table, but sometime Sunday or Monday, just out of sight from the store's bank of surveillance cameras, someone swiped the donation jar and approximately $300. Pastor Richard Smith says the money was going to be used to buy toys for the church's annual Christmas party for kids this Saturday. He replaced the donation jar on Wednesday. Store manager John Mostello is hoping the community will once again try to make this a happy holiday for the kids.

"We're hoping the community really comes out and gives a hand and help pick back up for what's missing now," said John.

Chris Gulledge and the company he works for have already donated clothes for kids. They are trying raise some cash to help.

"Definitely want to help with the toys, make sure the kids get the toys, my wife is willing to cook for that day," he explained.

Pastor Smith hopes whoever took the donation jar will return it.

"I would love for him to stop by the church and give the jar back, with the money," said Pastor Smith. "If you need it more than the kids, god bless you and I'll pray you have a Merry, Merry Christmas."

The church and the store have not filed a criminal complaint at this point, hoping the Grinch who swiped the donation jar will simply return it. Pastor Smith says the thief is invited to visit the church and see all the good deeds they do for the community.