KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Organizers behind a mass effort to find missing children in the metro need more volunteers.
The Big Search KC is an outreach effort involving teams of volunteers passing out booklets of missing people at businesses in the area.
“We have a problem in this country with people going missing, and sometimes they're not acted upon right away,” said Maureen Reintjes, who is on the planning team for the event.
This is the second year for the Big Search KC, which limited its outreach to the Missouri side of the state line last year. This year, they will include Kansas.
“On the Missouri side, there's roughly about a 1,000 missing, about 600 and something adults and 300 something children,” Reintjes explained. “On the Kansas side, it usually runs about 500.”
Anna Stalls knows what it’s like to have a missing child. Her then-16-year-old daughter, undergoing treatment in California, was kidnapped and forced into human trafficking in 2014.
“It was four weeks of just hell,” Stalls said. “My daughter she didn't know how to get out.”
Her daughter was missing for four weeks. A good Samaritan found her and contacted police.
“When you finally do see them again, you just want to smell their hair, just hold them and never let them go,” Stalls said.
She wants families of missing children to never give up hope, no matter if they’ve been gone days, weeks, moths or years.
“We had a happy ending, so that's what I try to focus on that there will be more happy endings,” Stalls said.
Tips collected during last year’s Big Search KC led to more than 20 children being found, according to organizers.
The Big Search KC is October 17-19. If you would like to volunteer, click here.