PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Treasure Coast fathers and their daughters were able to shine like the stars Saturday in Port St. Lucie. It was all for a good cause.
Father Daughter Gala Dance: Shine Like the Stars will help raise funds to purchase duffel bags or suitcases for South Florida foster children.
More than a dozen fathers escorted their daughters into Truth Church in Port St. Lucie on Saturday evening. The Woodruffs were among those who attended this father-daughter dance.
"It's good to teach them and learn the importance of family, to understand that some people don't have big families together," said Mark Woodruff.
"Probably the best part is being here with my dad," said Hannah Woodruff.
The charity event is spearheaded by Kim Baumgardner, the pastor's wife at the church. The funds raised will go towards purchasing travel bags for foster kids.
"These kids, sometimes when they are taken into foster care, they have to throw everything in a crisis and in an emergency, into a little Walmart bag. Sometimes it's not even their own stuff," said Baumgardner. "I wanted to give them a little bit of dignity and a little bit of love."
The need is greater than ever. According to 4Kids of the Treasure Coast, a nonprofit that helps foster children find homes, on average about 30 kids are put into foster care every month on the Treasure Coast.
"So now the children are able to share their story. They are speaking to teachers, they are talking to the neighbors, they are sharing what happened during the past year at home. We're seeing these numbers increase sometimes by five to 10 children a month," said Kenya Reinhardt, community relations coordinator at 4Kids. "So we want to make sure we're doing our part as a community to support families who are saying yes, opening up their homes and giving the gift of family, opening up their hearts as well as welcoming children into their families."
While it was a night to dress up and dance, these girls learned a deeper lesson about giving back.
“The smallest difference can make a really big change," said Mallory Cunningham, Miss St. Lucie County Outstanding Teen.