An Illinois school desperately needs donations after thieves took off with thousands of dollars worth of merchandise. 

"Well, the sad part is they're taking from the kids," said Sonya Hagaman, who is the co-chair of the annual Our Lady of Peace Auction. "It's the biggest money maker we have."

Months of hard work and planning took a turn Monday, when organizers got a call from their storage unit. 

"They noticed that the door was wide open and they assumed that we already had our auction, so they were calling me to turn the key in," said auction co-chair Amy Frisch.

The group was keeping some of the larger items in the storage room, such as a massage chair, an Orca cooler and hunting gear. 

Frisch said the retail cost of the stolen items is about $2,600. But, she said that when auctioned off, these big-ticket purchases could raise almost twice that number. 

 "Although your first instinct is anger, I guess you want to project to the students a feeling of I guess empathy toward these kinds of people who feel that this is what they need to do in their lives," said Our Lady Queen of Peace Principal Eve Remiszewski.

She said the yearly fundraiser supports technology upgrades and helps with the school's new science curriculum, not to mention mentoring programs, missions, helping the elderly and helping those who are homebound.

Even with such a tight time crunch, just 6 weeks away from show time, Remiszewski says she's confident they are in good hands.  

"As long as I have been here, knowing our parents, this parish, and the whole community, the entire Bethalto community, people will rally around us, and I have no doubt that we'll get the support we need on many different levels."

For more information on how you can help, you can reach out to auction coordinators at or by calling Our Lady Queen of Peace at (618) 377-6401.