NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- As politicians argue over how to respond to the flood of children surrendering at the U.S. border, missionaries from North Texas quietly chip away at the roots of the problem.
"This is my friend Carlito," said Bobby Moore, balancing a 5-year-old Honduran boy on his lap.
Moore spoke with us via Skype from a day care center in Campamento, Honduras. The North Richland Hills man works with the Christian Relief Fund. Children gathered around him as he spoke.
"We're down here with a group of about 30 North Texans," he said.
Moore said Carlito's mom left for the U.S. three months ago, and that smugglers told her she'd have a better chance of getting in if she brought her daughter, 6-year-old Cynthia.
So Carlito now misses his mom and his sister. He’s left behind with a 2-year-old sister and their grandma.
"He's asking to see his sister,” Moore said. “He doesn't understand why he was left behind."
"Desperate people do desperate things,” said Shanna Byrne. “She is a good mom. I think she loves her kids."
Byrne just returned from a missionary trip to Campamento with Legacy Church of Christ in North Richland Hills. Her kids played with Carlito. She's known the family for about two years.
"She's always done what she needed to do to put food on the table for her children," Byrne said of Carlito’s mother.
Byrne, Moore, and Donnie Anderson, of Fort Worth, all watch and feel the humanitarian emergency from both sides.
"I know people who make 25 cents an hour,” Anderson said as he sat next to Bobby Moore in a light rain. “They work 12 hours a day, seven days a week."
He moved to Honduras three years ago. He’s also with the Christian Relief Fund.
He said this year, a shortage of beans - virtually the only source of protein - makes life in Campamento even harder.
"So now it's just tortillas and rice. And it's not going to sustain them. So we're having a crisis on that, too,” Anderson said. “So people are feeling helpless here."
Anderson couldn't keep Carlito's mom from leaving and taking Cynthia with her. He's heard they made it to New Orleans.
He said he expects people from the village to keep heading north to escape poverty and violence, and as long as a few get through and send back money, others will keep trying.
Byrne is pragmatic about the impact one person can make.
"We can't change the world,” she said. “We kind of try to do for one what we want to do for all."
She plans to return to Honduras.