BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A local church organization that serves the less fortunate in the Baton Rouge community has been hit by thieves. The burglars broke into their storage units and stole everything the equipment and materials they use to help repair homes.
Every summer teens and young adults from across the country come to Baton Rouge for chance to help others live a little easier. They are part of a mission called Revive 225, a ministry started by the First United Methodist Church of Baton Rouge.
Executive Director George Ragsdale said the group of volunteers improve homes in north, old south, and downtown Baton Rouge.
"We have a three-mile radius we work from the church. We realized pretty quickly that there's a lot poverty, a lot of need, that three-mile radius and we can do something about it through a home repair ministry," Ragsdale said.
Each of the students pays a fee to become a part of Revive 225. That money covers the cost of materials. Ragsdale said the group recently rented a small warehouse on South 14th Street along with three shipping containers to store equipment and building materials.
"It allows us to buy in bulk. It allows us to buy a little bit ahead of time so we keep our kids from running back and forth to the home stores to purchase materials," Ragsdale said.
However, that plan did not last very long.
Revive 225 director Alex Byo said he made a shocking discovery on Tuesday when he showed up to gather some supplies.
"I drove up looked up and took a glance over and realized all of our latches were pointed straight down," Byo said.
Ragsdale said burglars had broken the locks and swiped everything, including $17,000 to $20,000 worth of stuff.
"Every power tool, every corded tool, everything that had a motor or engine in it was gone," Ragsdale said.
"I was speechless, to be honest with you, because this is something we all put a lot of work into to make it efficient so that we can make the biggest impact in our community," Byo said.
The crooks have put Revive 225 in a tough spot. Organizers said volunteers will begin arriving in a couple of weeks. But with no tools or materials, they won't be able to minister to others.
"It's a big hit, a big hit we are going to have to make up," Byo said.
Anyone who would like to donate equipment or money to help the group get back to work can contact Alex Byo at (225) 800-5855 or email@example.com.