Vandal Attacks South Sacramento Christian Center’s Outdoor Community Support Facility
Sacramento, CA -- Late Saturday night, a vandal driving a forklift rammed through the locked gates of South Sacramento Christian Center (SSCC) and leveled the center’s outdoor tented facility. The facility is used to provide food distribution and COVID-19 services to nearby Mack Road and Valley Hi residents.
Just hours prior to the vandalism, the SSCC Pastor Les Simmons personally handed out food for 300 families at its weekly drive-through distribution, a partnership with the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. SSCC is home to a wide range of wrap-around services and youth activities. Every Wednesday since May 2020, SSCC has used its drive-through tent to administer an average of 700 COVID-19 tests a week.
“Arriving to the alarming scene of destruction on Sunday morning felt like a real gut-punch,” Simmons said, describing the upended pavement and twisted shards of metal. “But we will not let this hateful act deter us from providing much needed services to our community.”
South Sacramento Christian Center is a vital and trusted community hub, particularly during a pandemic that has hit Sacramento’s underserved communities the hardest.
“I was deeply saddened to hear about the recent vandalism committed against the South Sacramento Christian Center, one of the most important community centers that provides resources to our South Sacramento community in District 8,” said the district’s Councilmember Mai Vang. “Pastor Simmons and his team have been serving our highest-need residents with thousands of weekly COVID-19 tests, as well as the distribution of food to nearly 150,000 individuals and families. I look forward to working with the SSCC team to help them rebuild quickly.”
Vang added that the suspect is now in custody and that her office will be monitoring this situation closely. The Sacramento Police Department is currently conducting an investigation into the suspect’s motive.
“SSCC is a vital partner in our collective work towards a hunger-free Sacramento County,” said Blake Young, president and CEO of Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. “Les Simmons and his team work tirelessly to ensure folks are well nourished and have healthy food access. Together, we feed tens of thousands of families in Sacramento.”
Simmons says he is heartened by the outpouring of support from across the region. Simmons and his staff are working with partners now, which includes The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, to continue vital services. On Saturday Aug. 21, South Sacramento Christian Center will host a back-to-school event with free backpacks, a DJ, free COVID-19 vaccines and 20 Corvettes on display from the Corvette Club. Five hundred families have registered to pick up backpacks, which will include school supplies, masks, and sanitizing wipes.
“South Sacramento Christian Center is a lifeline to the families in our community,” said Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and The Center, a long-time partner of South Sacramento Christian Center. “This is an opportunity to demonstrate resilience and keep the important work in motion.”
Please check SSCC’s Facebook page for updates on community services, volunteer opportunities and SSCC’s GoFundMe for recovery.