Foster care a needs met by Copperas Cove queen

Special to Leader-Press
 
According to the Annie E. Casey Kids Count Data Count, one in every four children, 26 percent, or nearly 28,000 children in Texas are in foster care. Preteen Miss Five Hills Briana Liles spent her holiday season ensuring these children had the items they needed.
Liles’ former teacher’s aide and now a family friend serves as a foster parent to six children. 
“This is what educated us to know that many children come into care without anything but the clothes on their backs,” said Liles who prepared more than 20 bags for foster children this year. “Since it was close to Christmas, I also wanted to add a toy to each bag.”
Each bag included a blanket, soap bar, shampoo, toothbrush and toothpaste, and hairbrush or comb in durable 31 Gifts bags. For older foster care children, some bags included deodorant and sanitary pads. Bags were also made for babies including wipes and rattles. Liles ensured that all bags had at least one toy and some had two. 
“We had several donors to help buy a bag, but our main donor was J&K Trucking Service, LLC of Bryan, Texas owned by Keith Mires. His business donated mostly everything collected,” Liles said. “My mom used her commission from her Thirty-one Gifts business to supply each of the bags and blankets.”
With the help of her mother, Liles shared the call for items on social media and met personally with friends, family, and local businesses to request support. Having conducted a similar collection drive benefitting the Rainbow Room last year, Liles chose Circle of Care in Salado to receive her donation. 
“Delivering the bags of supplies felt good because I knew that I was helping children have something my parents make sure I always have. I have never had to go without,” Liles said. “But since learning about all the children in our local area that don’t have anything, i just like to help them out. Now, they will have a good long lasting bag to hold some of their things they can call their own.”
Kirsten Wigley of Circles of Care was grateful to benefit from Liles’ kindness.
“Briana wanted to make sure that children that came into care had the needed supplies as well as a bag to carry their possessions,” Wigley said. “Briana has a generous heart.”
Liles plans to conduct a third drive for foster care children in 2019.
“Being placed out of your home can’t be easy, so I just want them to have something nice to help out with this change.” Liles said. “I would like to try to do this once a year because there are so many children to help. Maybe each year, the donation number of bags will continue to grow. That’s my goal.”
 

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