Kindergartener provides pajamas for children in foster care

Special to Leader-Press 

“151, 152, 153…small, medium, large…” Five-year-old Braelyn Liles counted the sets of new pajamas as she sorted them by size. Hers was a very special Christmas delivery to children who most likely had very little this holiday season—children in the foster care system.
The reigning Little Miss Five Hills hosted her Pajama Project to collect new sets of pajamas for children in Bell and Coryell Counties who spent their holiday season away from family and friends. These children are in the Texas Foster Care System, having been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect, or a continuously unstable home environment. 
Braelyn collected more than 160 sets of pajamas that she hand-delivered to Foster Love Bell County just in time for foster children to have gifts under the tree. 
“I know how much I love getting new pajamas for Christmas and I was happy to be able to give pajamas to other kids who may not get anything else for Christmas,” the kindergartener said. “I hope the new pajamas help keep them warm and make them smile.”  
Although all sizes of pajamas were needed for foster children, Foster Love shared that sizes infant-3 years and adult sizes for teens were most in need. Braelyn was able to collect several in these sizes and dozens upon dozens more.
“The best part was that there was a foster parent at Foster Love when we arrived. The foster parent needed pajamas for an older teen and Foster Love didn’t have any to give,” Braelyn’s mother, Christy Liles, said. “But Braelyn did have the exact size this foster parent needed. So, we got to see the true benefits of the pajama drive first-hand. Best feeling ever.”
Braelyn has volunteered with Foster Love Bell County since being crowned last March with her platform of service, Fostering Hope. She and her mother are in contact with the non-profit organization to collect various items it is running low on or is completely out of. 
“This donation (of pajamas) provides warmth for foster children as the winter months are already upon us,” said Foster Love Assistant Executive Director Mary Herschberger. “These items are especially impactful in that they serve real needs in our local community, especially for those who were in need for Christmas.”
More than 122,000 children in Texas are currently awaiting adoption while in the state foster care system.  
“Watching Braelyn deliver the pajamas to Foster Love was so rewarding. She wanted to try to do it all herself,” Christy Liles said. “Braelyn came to clearly understand that the true meaning of Christmas is about giving, not receiving.”
Braelyn’s next collection project is for small suitcases, duffle bags, and backpacks for children to place their items in when being removed from the home by child protective services. To donate, email fivehillspageant@gmail.com or contact the Miss Five Hills Scholarship Program through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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