Foundation that helps students, teachers in need asks for help after break-in

Jan 4, 2024, 5:19 PM | Updated: 6:46 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY — Thousands of dollars worth of toys and clothing for kids in need were stolen from the Granite Education Foundation’s donation and distribution center on Christmas Eve.

Chief Executive Director Jadee Talbot said the thieves used a rock to break open the front door. A neighbor next door noticed the broken glass and called 911.

“The thieves entered and took a lot of clothing, a lot of winter clothing, and unfortunately, some toys and fun things that we had set aside for impoverished kids in our district,” Talbot said.

He estimates the thieves stole more than $40,000 worth of clothing and toys. Talbot said the break-in happened after the weeks leading up to the holidays, when volunteers and donors go above and beyond to gather and stock up on items.

“When you take a step back, and you think, that’s who ultimately pays for the price for this, are these kids in need but also, the volunteers and our donors that give so much time, money, effort, energy, love,” he said.

Talbot said the foundation was well-stocked with winter clothing especially, but the thieves took a lot of it straight off the warehouse’s shelves.

“How do we get the kids who need it through these cold months?” he said.

Talbot said of the 58,000 students the foundation serves, nearly half of the kids live at or below the poverty line. The foundation provides materials to teachers and students year-round.

“You would hope that they didn’t know who they were taking it from,” Talbot said. “It hurts the kids, it hurts the teachers.”

On top of that, the warehouse’s doors and electronics were significantly damaged. The wires used for Wi-Fi and other office work were left a mess.

“It takes us away from our day-to-day operations of serving those students that need,” Talbot said.

Talbot said this is the third break-in in the last five months. They’re busy moving out to a new space while replacing what was lost. They’re working with police to find who’s responsible.

The foundation said donations and volunteers will help them bounce back after the break-in. They are especially in need of boots, shoes in all sizes, and pants for boys and girls.

In the meantime, the foundation is asking for donations to be dropped off at the current distribution center located at 3099 South 1030 West in West Valley City, 84119. They are open Monday-Thursday 8:00-12:00. Donations will also be accepted at the foundation’s main office at 2500 South State Street, D-108 in Salt Lake City.

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Foundation that helps students, teachers in need asks for help after break-in