LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Hucks Convenience Stores have adopted quite the full house in Lake St. Louis.
A couple of miles from the Huck's on Lake St. Louis Boulevard is the new Hucks House, a residence for eight foster children. Huck's will cover most of the costs of raising the children.
The house is one of 13 in the St. Louis area owned by the charity Angels' Arms. Angels' Arms buys houses for foster parents so brothers and sisters aren't split into separate foster homes.
Margie Hopper serves as the Huck's House foster mom. She has six children (three of them adopted) of her own, as well as four grandchildren. Hopper has fostered nearly three dozen children over the past nine years.
Chains of name and age tags hang near the kitchen to keep track of all the birthdays.
Eight foster children live with Hopper now: five brothers and sisters are back together in the home after spending two years apart. Another sibling group of three lives there, too. It's almost baseball season.
"We've got four kids starting baseball. I'm kind of worried about it," Hopper said. "Uniforms alone are $70 apiece. That's not counting baseballs, gloves, bats. I'm figuring $500 to $600, so I'm kind of thankful Huck's is going to be back there helping me with that because I can't afford that."
Huck's is the first business to entirely adopt an Angels' Arms home. Through its Karing for Kids program, Huck's will cover all expenses for Margie Hopper's bunch beyond the $15 per day per child from the state, which doesn't completely cover groceries, Hopper said.
There are about 14,000 in foster care right now in Missouri. Huck's House may help Angels' Arms to purchase additional homes, which cost the charity an average of $35,000 to maintain, per house, per year.