A non-profit music program for underprivileged kids has been robbed of all its instruments in a crime that staff say has stolen opportunity from the centre’s students.

Staff at the Cabbagetown Community Arts Centre discovered Tuesday night that its violins, guitars, and sound equipment had been stolen sometime between Sunday night and Monday afternoon after it appears thieves broke into a lockbox on the side door of the second-storey Parliament Street headquarters.

“We’re pretty upset right now, pretty shocked,” executive director Sarah Patrick told CTV News Toronto. “Who would do this?”

The registered charity provides one-on-one music lessons to 200 kids a week during the school year—youth whose families may not be able to afford them otherwise.

“It’s so meaningful for them to have this opportunity,” said founder David Blackmore. “You can imagine how expensive it is for lessons, to have an instrument.”

The centre has been accumulating instruments over the years, mostly through donations, and lost 14 guitars and 10 violins in the robbery. The pianos were not taken.

The staff and students were planning a party to celebrate the charity’s 40th anniversary in September, and board members are vowing to find a way to make sure they have instruments to give their students in the fall.

The program has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to replace the stolen equipment, and is also seeking any instrument donations. The charity itself is already struggling to make ends meet and is behind on its bills.

“I know that we will get it back together, come hell or high water,” said board member Peggy Weir.

Patrick said she is shocked that thieves would rob kids of their music.

“It’s taking it straight out of our children’s hands,” she said.