The three fruit trees - two cherries and a nectarine valued at $85 apiece - were to be planted in the Cathedral of the Rockies' First Fruits community orchard on Friday.
Instead, someone took them from the church parking lot some time between Wednesday evening and Thursday morning.
"My quote of the day is that now those trees won't be able to feed hundreds of people because they'll be planted in someone's yard," said Joe Prin, First Fruits organizer.
Prin said that he and the other gardeners had bought 22 fruit trees on Wednesday, including those that were taken, with grant money from the Boise Co-op and other donations from the public. Prin put the trees in the church parking lot for safekeeping until Friday's planting session.
"But when I came in this morning and looked at the parking lot," said Prin on Thursday, "I said, that doesn't look right."
He counted the trees and found three were missing.
One of the stolen cherry trees was part of a four-tree group chosen as a memorial by a local family. The family intended to plant the trees in memory of their daughter who was killed by a drunken driver.
Prin said he hopes the thief will have a change of heart.
"Bring them back, because you are forgiven. Then help us plant them," said Prin.
He is still looking for volunteers to help rake the ground, pick rocks, smooth pathways and dig holes for the 19 remaining fruit trees. Work begins at 8 a.m. Friday at the site at 11th and Fort Streets. Work will continue on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Volunteers don't need to call ahead, but can just show up, said Prin.
He is also welcoming donations to replace the stolen trees. Call him at 573-1082 for more details.