By Howard Monroe

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) — A South Jersey nonprofit is attempting to salvage Thanksgiving for thousands of people. Cathedral Kitchen in Camden had the catalytic converters stolen from two of their vans overnight.

It’s the sound no car owner wants to hear — the rev of an exhaust system that had its catalytic converter stolen. But it’s the reality facing Cathedral Kitchen in Camden the day before Thanksgiving.

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“I don’t think the people that did it really knew what they were doing and what type of impact it would have in the community,” chef LeBaron Harvey said.

The nonprofit is the largest emergency food provider in Camden. Each year they serve over 100,000 meals and service every shelter and halfway house in the city. But to do that, they need their vans.

Now two of the vans are out of service because of stolen catalytic converters.

“Somebody came at about 1 a.m. after driving around the property, climbed over the fence and cut out the catalytic converters on two of our vehicles,” Cathedral Kitchen Executive Director Carrie Kitchen-Santiago said.

The theft was caught on camera. Just after 1 a.m., a man is seen walking behind the building after being dropped off by a light-colored vehicle.

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Then, an hour later at 1:56 a.m., the person is seen collecting the sawed-off catalytic converters and running off. They then drive off in what appears to be the same vehicle.

Cathedral Kitchen does have other vans to make many of these deliveries, however, their operations will have to shift and also they’re out thousands of dollars for the repairs.

The executive director has this to say to the thieves.

“We’re probably helping people that they know — family, friends in the community. And when they do this they’re making it harder for us to do that,” Kitchen-Santiago said.

They estimate the cost to repair the vans is $3,500 per vehicle. And because of supply chain issues, they may have to go without them through the Christmas holiday.

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“A lot of the people I know personally, they get their meals every day here. Without Cathedral Kitchen a lot of people would be hungry,” Harvey said.