The people of the mid and western United States have a unique heritage of meeting the needs of homeless children. This is also a Christian heritage. They called them Mercy or Orphan trains. As eastern cities grew in 19th and early 20th centuries so did the population of homeless children.
These children were a mix of foundlings and orphans who ended up on the streets with no home or parent to care for their needs. Children’s homes were filled to over-capacity. These were children of every age and gender who were not receiving what a child needs most: love and attention. They needed homes, parents, and families. Finally, a group of pastors devised a new method to get these children into loving homes: trains headed west.
The pastors and volunteers back east found and created a network of pastors and volunteers in towns along the railroads. These concerned helpers would recruit families in their region to take these children into their homes. The volunteers back east would load the children onto trains with all their earthly goods, and send them to their new homes in the west.
The west was ready for them. At every stop families and parents would be waiting at the train stations for their new child. These children were scattered all over the mid-western and plains states of the US, and their children and descendants still live there today.
I am thankful to live in one of the most caring and generous nations in the world… let’s never forget our heritage, or the needs of homeless children. Open your hearts, your homes, and your wealth to these kids worldwide. They need us.