NORTHAMPTON — Police are investigating the theft of money from the “Happy Frog” sculpture downtown that collects donations to feed the hungry.

The bronze sculpture, located on the corner of Main Street and Center Street on the lawn of First Churches, features a lockbox that collects bills and coins for Manna Soup Kitchen, which provides hot meals at St. John’s and St. Edward’s churches.

The break-in to the lockbox and the theft of money was reported to police on Monday by a member of Friends of Hampshire County Homeless Individuals Inc., which oversees the sculpture and its collections, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.

Northampton Police Lt. Craig Kirouac told the Gazette it’s not clear how much money was taken from the lockbox. It was last checked in early December and the break-in and theft was first noticed Friday.

Rick Hart, president of Friends of Hampshire County Homeless Individuals Inc., told the Gazette the damage will be repaired and friends of the frog will work to make the lockbox more secure. He guessed there may have been several hundred dollars inside.

The Happy Frog was created by Northampton artist Lu Stubbs and installed in 2008. It was conceived as an effort to consolidate charitable giving on the downtown streets to ensure that donations made their way to the truly needy. The business community, which has struggled with panhandling downtown, supported the project.

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