TAMPA, Fla. -- Gengiz Khan Mediterranean Grill is one of countless local restaurants fighting to survive on an empty dining room.
As the South Tampa business reacts to the crippling impacts of COVID-19, another setback has disrupted an Easter luncheon dedicated to senior citizens.
"This Sunday was our campaign for the lunch feeding and now my pantry is empty," said owner Ergin Tek. "They stole everything they could."
Someone broke into a storage shed on the Bay to Bay Boulevard property between Sunday night and Monday morning, stealing thousands of dollars worth of food and kitchen supplies.
Tampa Police officers are investigating the crime while Tek steps up security at the restaurant.
Tek says the actions of that unknown suspect have jeopardized a big event for Easter Sunday, he planned to help feed more than 500 seniors in need.
"If anybody is in that situation, I will be very happy to hear them and I will do everything I can to help them," said Tek. "Whether feeding them to their family or anything."
Through his nonprofit, Feed In Need, Tek has helped supply more than 100,000 meals to people in need over a two-year span.
In 2017, Tek made headlines for offering his dining room to house and feed people escaping Hurricane Irma.
- South Tampa restaurant turning into shelter for Hurricane Irma, offering free food, place to sleep
- Gengiz Khan Mediterranean Grill cooking thousands of Thanksgiving turkeys for those in need in Tampa
A community member has started a GoFundMe to help recover some of the costs lost and make sure Sunday's luncheon can move forward.