Salt Lake City Police Detective Dennis McGowan said officers discovered the burglary at 8 a.m. Thursday and were still investigating it.
The burglars hit the side of the building that lacks an alarm, said Zach Bale, vice president of external relations for Volunteers of America that operates the center.
"Whoever it was went through the backpacks and just took out the items of greatest value," said Bale. "We had a group from Wells Fargo that volunteers come down and help put them back together so they will be ready for tomorrow."
Bale said the cards were worth between $5 and $10 and could be used at fast food restaurants or local grocery stores. The stolen bicycles are used by team members who go out into the streets to find and help youths.
According to the organization's website, workers drive, walk, bike and take public transit in Salt Lake County to seek out young people living on the streets. They provide food, clothing, information on community services and encourage kids to use the Volunteers of America's daytime drop in center.
"It's pretty crazy when stuff like this happens," Bale said. "You would think charities would be the last place people would rob."
Volunteers were working to see what other items might have been stolen.
Bale said community members who wished to make financial contributions to help make up for the loss can log on to the group's website at www.voaut.org.
The Homeless Youth Resource Center also operates an all-female transition home that teaches 16- to 19-year-olds self-sufficiency or helps reunite them with their families.
Volunteers of America
O Those interested in making a donation can visit www.voaut.org, call 801-363-94914 or visit 435 W. Bearcat Drive in Salt Lake City.