Police respond to the worst of circumstances. One weekend assignment brought out the best in three Austin officers. They are now being recognized for their act of kindness.
On Saturday, Sgt. Gary Christenberry, Officer Melvin Moreno and Officer Oscar Barbosa responded to a welfare check at the request of child protective services.
The call took them to a home in East Austin off Riverside and Montopolis. The exact address is private due to the open investigation.
It was believed, two children were living with their father who was wanted for the felony charge of injury to a child.
"We didn't find the fugitive," Christenberry said. "What we did find was, the two children CPS asked us to check welfare on as well as four others ranging in age from one to 13 as well as three adult females."
The conditions were rough.
"The home was very dirty, very hot. There was soiled clothing, flies," said Moreno. "We started to look into the refrigerator and the cupboard to make sure the children had stuff to eat."
"There was nothing. Not even a Cheerio. The baby was drinking water out of a bottle," Christenberry said.
The officers contacted CPS and asked for a food delivery. They soon decided they couldn't wait.
"I don't know the last time they ate. I just knew it had been too long," said Moreno.
"I just went to the local store and purchased some things my children and grandchildren like to eat," Christenberry said.
For Christenberry, that meant peanut butter, bread, milk, juice and bologna.
"Most of it was gone by the time we left," said Christenberry.
"I think it goes back to the reason why we got into police work to help somebody," said Barbosa.
Officers often encounter situations where children are in need of help. There is a way we can all chip in.
Partnerships for Children supplies CPS with food, clothes, toys and toiletries.
"We serve 250 cases a month and a case typically has two to three kids in it," said Marcus Cantu, Partnerships for Children.
The non-profit relies on donations from the community.
"If they see a tag on clothes they get all excited or a new toy out of the package that's pretty excited for them," said Cantu.
The hungry children the three officers helped are reportedly doing fine and have groceries once again inside the home.
The officers likely won't forget their faces anytime soon.
"Heart-warming. It was awesome. It felt good," said Barbosa.
To donate, go to www.partnershipsforchildren.org.