Donations for cult kids overwhelming
Those who thought Texas would not be able to care for these kids appear to be grossly mistaken at this point. This story also shows the compassion and generous spirit of Texans toward these kids. God has blessed Texas with such people.
Instead of sending out water bills or notices for municipal court Monday, the two-person City Hall staff of the tiny Brazoria County town of Liverpool were putting together tricycles Monday.
The two-room City Hall filled up with bags of diapers, boxes of baby food and other goods destined for the Jim H. Green Kidz Harbor two miles from town. The facility is now the temporary home of about three dozen children taken into state custody from a polygamist sect's West Texas retreat.
"We hardly have room to move around here," Liverpool City Secretary Judy Dunbar said with a laugh. "We're putting together tricycles right now."
She and City Treasurer Jane Blanchard also had some donated bicycles to put together.
Sheriff's deputies were transporting the donations to the facility, she said.
Meanwhile, local school officials say they plan to give the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints community time to get used to their new home before they assess the children for their educational needs.
Kidz Harbor is at the end of a series of small county roads on the banks of Chocolate Bayou. The remote location is keeping the children out of the view of county residents, but not out of their hearts.
Donation stations have also been set up at the Pearland and Freeport police stations.
"We've already gotten five pickup truckloads of things from Pearland and one from Freeport," Dunbar said Monday.
Even as the children unloaded from buses at Kidz Harbor on Friday, pickup trucks loaded with donated baby cribs started to arrive.
"The children are of every age," said Natanya Taylor, an administrator at Kidz Harbor. The facility won't reveal details on the children, but Liverpool Mayor Mike Peters said at least 25 seemed to be 5 and younger.
Taylor said the home's greatest need now is for money in the form of cash or gift cards.
"We've had many trips to Wal-Mart," she said.
The children seem to be settling in well, she said. A couple have colds or other sniffles, but otherwise they are well, she said.
Meanwhile, children sent to Boys and Girls Country near Hockley were "adjusting beautifully," Executive Director Shirley Wright stated on the organization's Web site.
No donated clothing is needed. The agency plans to purchase or make the prairie dresses and other clothing that the children are accustomed to wearing.
"These children have received very little education and we anticipate that they are behind their age level, and will need a great deal of remediation to catch up," Wright wrote.
While the Waller Independent School District will partner with the home to teach the children, Wright said certified teachers and volunteers are needed to assist with tutoring.
The children will live in cottages staffed with experienced houseparents, she said.