Child gives up presents to help tough new cause

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A Cape Girardeau girl is giving up her birthday presents for charity.

It's not just any charity, however.  It's a new one that helps children affected by drugs in their homes.

McKensi Williams will soon turn nine. Her big party with friends is on Saturday. Instead of the guests bringing presents, they will donate to a tough cause.

"We're going to have some fun," said McKensi Williams.

McKensi can't wait for her party. She's just days away from turning nine.

She won't be unwrapping Barbies and pretty hair bows at her party, instead she's asking her friends to bring donations.

"They're going to be bringing blankets and pacifiers," said McKensi.

They'll also bring clothing, and other desperately needed items for a new program to help children in unimaginable situations.

"What we're able to do is evaluate the whole child medically, emotionally, and developmentally," said Lisa Baker, RN.

Baker is the director of a new program called Drug Endangered Children.

Workers are on call 24/7 as they help kids recently removed from homes where they were exposed to drug manufacturing, drug abuse, or drug deals.

"It's very real," said Baker.

In fact this program in Cape Girardeau just started about two months ago, and they've already seen several children from babies to teens.

The first thing they do is decontaminate the child.

"It's scary, but basically it's a really good head to toe shower," said Baker.

Once removed from a drug house a child typically cannot take any toys or clothes.

"Once we get them here we get them a clean set of clothes and shoes," said Baker. "We hope to get an overnight kit for those children with pj's, blankets, and toiletry items that they can call their own."

It's a need noticed by young McKensi Williams.

"They're going through hard times right now so I feel like I should help them," said McKensi. "Those are the things I like doing."

"She sets an awesome example not just for kids, but for adults," said Lisa Baker.

"I'm pretty proud of her," said McKensi's mother Michelle Williams.

She says her daughter talked about how she had so many things, and wanted to give to others.

"It's definitely a good mom moment," said Michelle Williams.

"Since I'm so fortunate, then I think I should share with them," said McKensi.

The Drug Endangered Children program is a service provided at Beacon Health Center in Cape Girardeau. It serves 10 southeast Missouri counties.

They also offer counseling, and follow up with the children once they leave.

For more information on this program, visit:

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