Published: 10:35, 29 October 2018
| Updated: 10:37, 29 October 2018
Carrier bags full of food have arrived at Appledore vicarage following the theft of harvest festival produce from the church altar.
Vicar Patricia Fogden broke down in tears after discovering thieves had stolen most of the food donated by her congregation following a "joyous" harvest festival service.
She appealed for the food to be replaced and said wellwishers have responded "restoring her faith in humanity".
Rev Fogden said: "Carrier bags full of rice, pasta, cereals, tins and sauces have been left at the vicarage as well as two big boxes of food.
"A few cheques have been sent to me and together with the food it has more than replaced what was stolen.
"All the donations have gone a good way to restoring my faith in humanity."
She added: "People have been saying to me how the theft of food from the altar is shocking and that they can't believe how anyone could stoop that low."
Goods had also been stolen from the Produce in the Porch stall in the weeks proceeding the theft, forcing the church to suspend the service.
The vicar of the 13th century St Peter and St Paul, Appledore, found the produce missing the day after the harvest festival service on October 7.
Speaking after the discovery of the theft, Rev Fogden said: "We have never had so much donated for the harvest festival as this year and it was all going to be given to Tenterden foodbank.
"Everybody at the church is so upset and we just can't take it in.
"Harvest festival food always goes to the needy or elderly and everyone knows that."
Rev Fogden has now taken all the new donations to the foodbank where it will be distributed to families in need.
A police spokesman said: "We are investigating after food supplies were reported stolen from a church in Ashford.
"Between 11am and 1pm on 8 October 2018 the items were taken from St Peter & St Paul Church in The Street, Appledore.
"Any witnesses or anyone who has information regarding the theft, and hasn’t yet been in contact, should call 01843 222289 quoting reference: ZY/060348/18.
"Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent anonymously on 0800 555 111."
More by this authorRachael Woods