GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Runaway Youth Services (RAYS) is asking people in the community to be a host for homeless children.

Originally starting the program in Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties, RAYS expanded the organization when they saw a need to help children in Brown County.

RAYS Director Jackie Baumgart says, “A lot of these youth have been through not having a place to stay, or couch surfing or maybe they can’t go home because it’s not a safe place for them, so to be that home is such a rewarding experience.”

Anyone can be a host and RAYS is only asking for people to open their doors for a maximum of three weeks.

De Pere native Katie Szerkins has fostered and hosted about 47 children. She says, “I think they’re such a vulnerable population and if we want a healthy community, we have to have healthy kids.”

While RAYS partners with places like House of Hope to provide temporary shelter, the nonprofit says that hosting a child will provide them with an even greater sense of security.

“They’re just kids who are stuck in a bad situation and these kids in particular don’t have the basic necessities. They don’t have a roof, they don’t have a home to go to, and so being able to provide them, even if it’s just for that short amount of time, it’s so rewarding,” Szerkins says.

If you are interested in hosting, you can call the RAYS number 920-619-1079. For children looking for services, their helpline is 920-458-7100. To donate, click here.