Robert August is still surveying the damage after Calgary’s Good4U recycling store was hit by thieves over the Canada Day long weekend.
The burglars made off with more than $20,000 worth of materials, including laptops, furniture, tools and the group’s three-week-old cube van, which was used to pick up large donations.
“It’s the first six months of a store, and it’s been a battle,” August said.
The break-in was a major hit, but volunteers said what’s most upsetting is that the thieves also stole opportunities.
Good4U is run by the Enterprise4Good group, which provides volunteer and work opportunities for people with physical and mental disabilities.
Money from the recycling store also goes towards supporting programs for kids with autism and seniors with dementia.
“They’re hurting a much bigger group of people than what they imagined,” Volunteer Kelly Gurtin said.
“It might just look like a store that’s selling recycled goods, but it has a much bigger impact.”
An impact big enough to put the future of the store in question.
“One small robbery isn’t going to stop us, but we’re certainly limping because of this one,” August said. “We barely had money for a new van and it got stolen.”
Insurance will cover the loss of the van, but for now, the group’s focus is on replenishing its depleted stock.
They’re looking for donations of quality furniture and renovation items in hopes of giving more people like Gurtin a chance.
“They were the first place that gave me an opportunity to work and show that I can do things as well as other people that are able-bodied,” she said.
Donations can be made to the Good4U recycling store at 1338 36 Ave. N.E.