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Donations help Quinn House stay on its feet

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County Commissioner Kevin Kenerly made an unusually large purchase at Quality Foods in Buford on Monday: Almost 300 pounds of meat.

He piled it all in the back of his SUV and drove it to the Quinn House in Lawrenceville, where he donated all of the chicken, ribs and beef.

It was the largest donation the Quinn House has received in the wake of the theft of 500 pounds of meat from the food bank last week.

The theft placed the house on the brink of going out of "the business of helping people." With about half of its meat gone overnight, the house could have run out of the rest of its supply in as little as a week.

But donations from a variety of sources have kept the Quinn House on its feet and they've recovered about two-thirds of the meat lost. Food manager Joe Guzzo said the house has received many more donations in the past week than usual.

"It's just truly a blessing," he said.

The Quinn House plays a variety of roles, including feeding the homeless and operating a halfway program. It usually feeds about 30 to 40 people in a day, in addition to providing food to nine other food banks in northeast Georgia.

The food was stolen the night before National Hunger Awareness Day on June 6 from two unlocked freezers behind the house. Guzzo suspects that the meat was stolen by someone who once a part of the Quinn House's halfway program, making the theft more of an emotional blow than a physical or monetary one.

Guzzo isn't optimistic about recovering all 500 pounds of assorted meats that were stolen.

"We'll probably never see that meat again," he said.

But because of donations, he said morale at the house has been improving.

"We're still in the business of helping people," he said.