LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - An outreach group was trying to help kids whose parents can't afford school supplies start the year off right, but a thief apparently had other ideas.
The Schuhmann Center in Louisville's Smoketown neighborhood is busy even on a quiet day.
"We have a lot of volunteers," said Jim Nix, Schuhmann Center director. "We have literally thousands of people who pass through here in the course of a year.
Sometime over the weekend, a thief apparently kept him or herself busy as well, taking school supplies meant for the kids of families the center serves.
"We had ... 12 new L. L. Bean backpacks that were valued at $30 each," Nix said of the most valuable items stolen.
In addition to the backpacks, whoever it was stole other school supplies and anything else easily carried.
"They were very lightweight, had the tags on them, were easy to transport and the person was probably looking for something that was light-weight that they might be able to sell," Nix said of what was taken.
"There was a whole thing of the big packages of Dial soap, you know that comes in the wrap, that's missing," a volunteer said of some of the other items the thief stole.
The nearby church, St. Martin of Tours, has full-time security staff and the guard on duty Sunday evening may have seen the thief passing the building. A man wheeled a city trash can that Metro Police say was stolen up and down Shelby and Gray streets.
Now the center is scrambling because the first day for the kids who were supposed to get the school supplies is quickly approaching.
"They will be coming in this week and next week, hoping to get a backpack for their children," said Nix of the families who were hoping for help.
He's hoping people who live in Kentuckiana can help both restore what was stolen and restore the faith of the people who worked so hard to make it happen.
"We have so many wonderful benefactors and so many wonderful volunteers and people who come in and work and work," Nix said. "You know, you really try and then something happens and it's very upsetting."
If you can help, you call 502-589-6696 or send donations to:
The Schuhmann Center
639 South Shelby Street
Louisville, KY 40202
The Schuhmann Center is an outreach program of Saint Martin of Tours. It is operating out of a building that can no longer house its extensive food pantry and other things it helps give out to the needy. If anyone wants to volunteer to help them build a new facility on land adjacent to the current building on East Gray Street, contact Jim Nix.