EL CAJON (NEWS 8) — A local charity is reeling after the theft of donations made to them was discovered Sunday.
Essential items intended for refugee families were stolen from a Mission Valley storage unit just days before they were to be delivered.
"We're looking to help 500 to 700 refugee children," said Jill Galante who is part of an organization called Helping El Cajon Refugees.
The group, who helps refugees primarily from Syria and Afghanistan, had their A-1 Storage unit broken into on Sunday.
"I got a call from one of our volunteers – her name is Hajar – and she was sobbing in front of the storage unit with her child on Mother's Day," said Jill.
Toys and clothes that were being gathered to help celebrate Ramadan were taken, but the break-in went beyond just stealing.
"Somebody had not only stolen the new toys and the new clothes, but they'd also trashed the place," said Jill.
Multiple layers of security were broken to get into the unit.
"Somebody somehow knew how to get into the lock box and I don't know how that is," said Jill. "We're devastated about it"
A-1 Storage wouldn't go on camera with News 8 but have reportedly been helpful.
"They have surveillance tapes, so hopefully we're going to be able to see who's walking out with these items," said Jill.
The value of what was lost is estimated to be $7,000 - $10,000.
Jill says it's not really the dollar value that was lost.
The possibility that there are these children and these new families that aren't going to be able to celebrate Ramadan the way they want, to me, is a far more suffering blow," Jill said.
Click here to learn more about Helping El Cajon Refugees and here to see a GoFundMe page set up to help them raise money to replace items for the refugee families.