Hundreds of children in Austin, and thousands across Texas, live in what we call "the system." For any number of reasons they cannot live with their parents, so they are cared for by the state.
Local non-profits said as of last month, more than 400 kids are in foster care in Austin. Total of 16,000 of them are in Texas, and across the U.S., more than 440,000 children are in the system.
STARRY, which is a local non-profit, is trying to get their arms around the neglected children of Central Texas through counseling, foster care and even adoption.
“There was a child, who was so neglected, he really didn't know how to eat at a table, but what the foster family ended up doing like he wouldn't come to the table for any meals, he was so used to eating in a corner by himself, they ended up removing their dining room table, sitting on the floor and eating with him,” said Kayleigh Cunningham, STARRY Foster Care Director.
While there are hundreds of thousands of children, who need help in the U.S., there are millions more around the world.
"I wouldn't let a dog live in some of the orphanages that I've been to. I've seen so much suffering of children. Little kids that will pull on your clothes until you pick them up and scream like bloody murder when you put them down. Children that are so despondent, banging their head against the wall, so they can self-sooth, I mean, I get emotional because I'm horrified by the injustice that's happening to these children,” said Caroline Boudreaux, Founder of Miracle Foundation.
Boudreaux said she sees these types of conditions across the globe. In India, there are 31 million orphans. Around the world, a total of 153 million, according to the Miracle Foundation.
The Whole Foods Team Member Volunteer Program went to India in partnership with the Miracle Foundation. In just one week, the members helped build a garden, dining hall, library and kitchen.
"What I remember is feeling so happy to be a part of a program where an organization can do such wonderful things for children. Just to see the joy on the children's face, to integrate with them, to meet their house mothers, who are actually taking care of these children, committed to raising the children,” said Genie Bolduc, Whole Foods TM Volunteer Program Manager.
Both the Miracle Foundation and STARRY leaders agree that every helping hand can help change the lives of these vulnerable children. You can make a difference through adoption, volunteer work or even through a small donation.
To learn more about the Miracle Foundation, click here.
To learn more about STARRY, click here: