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St. Louis, MO - While city officials wait to see if St. Louis is chosen for this program, some residents are already planning ahead.

Residents in south St. Louis are collecting items like towels, sheets and books for the children.

They came together through social media after one resident saw St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's press conference and knew she had to help.

"I don't think nothing is too big, how can we not help?" says Connie Cominsky.

Inside Cominsky's historical Benton Park home she and two of her neighbors are meeting for the first time.

"I think that we are a city that can help and hopefully will," says Katie Berry.

Cominsky asked her friends and neighbors to help her collect items that the children may need if they come to St. Louis.

"I heard back from St. Vincent's with the list of items that they really need," says Cominsky.

Like twin sheets, towels and stuffed animals.

Cominsky says it took only 4 hours to get 75 responses from neighbors, like Chuck Lavazzi.

"When you personalize a problem like this when you make it a matter of some kids coming here who don't have anything that I think people are more likely to respond from their hearts," he says.

Mother of three month old Teddy, Katie Berry says she feels for the families.

"I can't imagine feeling so desperate about your situation about feeling so sure that if your child stayed in a city they would be killed," she says. "That you then have to put them on a train by themselves."

Cominsky says she knows the kids may not come to St. Louis, but will continue to collect the items.

"Because they haven't been shown any welcome," says Cominsky.

If the children don't come to St. Louis, Cominsky says she will make sure the items collected make their way to whatever community is chosen.

If you would like to help the Benton Park/Soulard neighbor group you can contact them:

bienvenidosstl@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/groups/427287684077146/

Or contact the International Institute and leave your contact information at:

info@iistl.org

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