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Firebombing destroys Michigan church's food pantry; pastor decries ‘pure evil’

Harvest Time Christian Church
Non-perishable food sits in a shipping container at Harvest Time Christian Church in Warren, Michigan, after a fire on Aug. 14, 2022. |

A church food pantry storing non-perishable items for a ministry serving the poor has been firebombed in what the pastor describes as an act of "pure evil."

Pastor Curtiss Ostosh of the Detroit-area Harvest Time Christian Fellowship in Warren, Michigan, announced on Facebook Sunday that someone "firebombed" or "set on fire" the church's food storage container holding "countless tons" of food distributed daily to those in need throughout Warren. 

He lamented that the firebombing caused thousands of dollars in damage and resulted in a "total loss." 

"We serve more than 1,500 Families Monthly! Pure Evil!!!" he added.

Ostosh shared images of the damage sustained by the shipping container that stores non-perishable items for his church's food ministry. 

"When we came to the church Sunday morning at about 8 a.m., we noticed that we got firebombed," Ostosh told The Christian Post. "We didn't coin that phrase. That's what the fire department told us happened." 

Ostosh said the firebombing occurred between midnight and 1 a.m. Sunday.

"The fire investigators were out there and told us it was arson," he said.

"There's evil actors in the world, and it's a senseless act that I still don't understand," he added. "People just don't have respect for other people's property, and there's evil actors that do evil things."

Harvest Time Christian Fellowship will continue serving the community despite the firebombing, Ostosh said, thanks to "a number of other partner pantries in our area that have stepped up." 

"We give out food to our church family on Wednesdays and Sundays, but we give out food … to the community on Tuesdays and Fridays, and as devastating and senseless as this evil act was, we're going to be distributing food today to the community just like … we normally do," he stated.

"God's bigger than one evil act, and so … we plan on pushing forward and continuing to share with our church community and the community at large as we have for nearly 31 years." 

The pastor believes the church community will "come out on the better side of this." Ostosh expressed gratitude for the "significant support from people that operate other food ministries and food pantries."

"Their support allowed us to have food to distribute this week, and hopefully, our normal channels of food support and financial support will carry us through in the days and weeks ahead," he continued.

Ostosh indicated that Harvest Time Christian Fellowship would need "monetary resources and donations" to repair the damage caused by the firebombing. He said about 80% of the food supply was lost and estimated the worth of the damaged food to be about $18,000 to $20,000.

"The shipping container has to be replaced. The fire department cut holes in the side of it to extinguish the fire, and so … we're trying to figure out interim food storage at the moment, and so we're trying to rebuild and restock and keep doing what we're doing."

Harvest Time has been operating its food ministry ever since the church opened. 

"We've had the storage container for quite a few years," Ostosh said. 

Harvest Time salvaged about 20% of its overall food supply, which is stored in freezers and refrigerators. 

As noted on Harvest Time Christian Fellowship's website, the church's food ministry "gives out 75,000 [pounds] of food a month" and prepares "1600 meals per month."

The Harvest Time Food Distribution Center characterizes itself as "a community outreach, passionate about Jesus, His teachings, and living out His word in this world … in the heart of the poorest zip code in Macomb County."

The Harvest Time Food Distribution Center identifies itself as "one of the only pantries in Macomb County that provides Fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, dairy, proteins, dry and canned goods." 

Ostosh remains unsure what the motive was for the suspected act of arson against the church. 

The firebombing comes as several churches and pro-life pregnancy centers across the United States have faced similar acts of vandalism following the publication of a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which illustrated that a majority of Supreme Court justices were poised to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide. 

Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer doesn't believe the fire was accidental. 

"We are attempting right now to get some video from one of the city buildings that will assist us in the investigation," Dwyer told Fox 2

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at: ryan.foley@christianpost.com

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