The allegations horrified the nation. A little girl known in court documents as "L.P." was forced to live in a closet with little food, no light and no love, authorities said.
Donations have poured in to help L.P. celebrate her 11th birthday Wednesday. The Local Investment Commission established a benefit fund.
Nearly 300 cards, including birthday cards, have been sent for the girl.
"In many cases they are store-bought cards and in many cases people went out and hand crafted cards," said Brent Schondelmeyer, LINC's communications director.
Those personal notes assured the girl that she was loved and wished her well.
About $3,400 in donations have been received as well. Gifts including teddy bears, coloring books and dolls were to L.P. on Wednesday for her to open.
Donations still need to be sorted and counted. Items will continue to be given to L.P. after her birthday.
"In many cases, a community can't parent a child, but a community can care for a child," Schondelmeyer said.
The child's mother and boyfriend face charges.
In June, the girl was discovered locked in a closet in an apartment located on Highland Avenue near 13th Street. The girl was severely malnourished to the point where she was reportedly only a third of the weight of a normal girl her age.
Court documents said the closet's door was barricaded from the outside using a portable crib and a small rope, and wide shoelaces were bound around the doorknobs.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said the girl was not allowed to eat with the rest of her family, it was clear she was confined off-and-on in the small space for a prolonged period of time and the closet also doubled as her bathroom.
"So unimaginable, so horrific," Schondelmeyer said. "A child is something that should be loved, nurtured and grown and developed. A child is not something to be literally hidden, locked away."
He said society must pay attention "to people in our world, if we don't pay attention to people around us, literally and figuratively a child can get lost."
The neighborhood where L.P. lived is holding a birthday party for her. The girl won't attend. The ceremonial party will help raise donations for her and help residents as part of their own healing process.
The ceremonial party was 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at T.B. Watkins Courtyard, 1318 Highland Ave., Kansas City, MO. Many turned out for it.
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