Our Story

The McAveeney family began taking in homeless children in the Chicagoland area in 2007. They learned hundreds of children living in foster facilities lost hope believing they would never find a family.  One little girl said, "I don't make birthday wishes because they don't come true. I stopped wishing for a mommy. No one ever picks me." A staggering number of children were also struggling to find a consistent place to sleep at night. McAveeney's needed to do more  - to show children how valuable and important they are - so they could achieve Brighter Futures. 

Facts Many children experiencing homelessness or in the foster system feel isolated and ashamed. It's common for them to be excluded from simple childhood experiences. It's difficult to escape from hearing classmates talk about birthday parties, family movie nights, summer camp, holidays and more. It's painful and almost impossible for children to focus in school when they feel rejected.  

Helping Children Living Without Families Feel Loved!

"One day, we were sitting at our kitchen table and our daughter Lilly said: "Mom what about Valentine's Day? Who helps foster kids feel loved like you love me?  What can we do to help them feel loved?"  

Lilly invited her friends to make care packages & personalized notes for

48 children living  in a foster facility.  

Then, Lilly’s sister Ellorie asked, “Who’s going to help them feel special on their birthdays? And what about school supplies -- who buys them?

...and Fill a Heart 4 Kids mission was born. 


"Michael was the first baby we took into our home. 

Today, Micheal is 15 years. He tutors children in our Brighter Futures Program. We are incredibly proud of Michael and ALL his wonderful accomplishments!"

Annie McAveeney

Foster Story

Project PenPal© at Fill a Heart 4 Kids
A thank you note from a foster child.
Thank you letters


The McAveeney family began delivering 4 Kids WeCare Packages© and personalized notes to more group homes. Before they knew it, they began receiving hundreds of thank you notes from kids living in group facilities. The children, especially the teens, shared how they loved receiving letters and care packages because it made them feel loved and it gave them hope.

Andrew told them it meant so much to him to get candy and a new pair of socks because he didn't have any family who remembered him.  Angie said, "Every Valentine's Day I pretended room moms were my mom so I wouldn't cry." Angie told the McAveeneys, "I LOVE Valentine's Day now! I don't have to pretend anymore because I have a family that loves me." Another teen boy told them how he kept his first Valentine’s note and hung it on his wall because when he opened his eyes in the morning, it was the first thing he saw. It made him happy because he thought he finally had a "mom" that cared. The kids asked the family not to forget them...the tradition grew. 

"Your contributions make a difference!

You've warmed thousands of hearts and given children hope!"

Lilly McAveeney

Filling Hearts with Love...

What originally started out as 48 broken hearts  has grown to 2,000 hopeful hearts, over 6,000 yearly volunteers & 4 Kids Brighter Futures programs!

VOLUNTEER NOW Small gestures make a BIG difference!!!