Kendra Cofer's favorite day of the week is Thursday.

Nearly every Thursday for the last five years, she's visited the Dell Medical Children's Hospital with a band of princesses and superheroes, determined to put a smile on the faces of families battling critical illness.

Cofer is the founder and executive director of L4 Cares, a nonprofit based in Liberty Hill that helps senior citizens, military service members, people in crisis and children in need.

The specifics

Through Operation Superhero, the organization sends entertainers dressed as characters, such as Spider-Man, Elsa, Cinderella, Paw Patrol and more, to local children's hospitals to greet families, give toys, take photos, and share arts and crafts.

Last year alone, L4 Cares saw 648 hospital patients and served over 3,200 people total primarily in Travis, Burnet, Williamson and Bell counties, according to Cofer.

In addition to Operation Superhero, L4 Cares provides other services that include:
  • Facilitating visits by Elvis Presley and Neil Diamond impersonators to local nursing homes, such as Park Place Georgetown
  • Hosting welcome home parades for military service members and their families
  • Partnering with local grocers on a weekly basis to donate items to the Veterans Association in Temple
  • Helping homeless veterans find housing
  • Assisting families and people in crisis through the loss of a family member, property, or other recent tragedy
All L4 Cares assistance is free, and nearly all of the outreach occurs through word of mouth, Cofer said.

The backstory

In 2017, after working in the corporate world for over 30 years, Cofer was struck with the realization that she wanted to start a nonprofit to serve her local community.

The name, L4 Cares, comes from the phrase "the least, the last, the lost and the lonely," which Cofer said represent different segments of the community that often fall through the cracks.

"When we started, we said we want to challenge people to pay attention to the needs of somebody around them. Whether it's a neighbor, a co-worker, a stranger—they have unspoken needs because oftentimes people are too proud to ask for help," Cofer said.

Quote of note

"We just want them to know that there are people here that don't know you but love you," Cofer said. "As hard as it is to see the children in the conditions they are, it's just amazing to hear them giggle and see them smile, to give them something to look forward to the next week. It just fills your soul."

What's next

Cofer said her next dream is to create a retreat camp for families with children battling terminal illness. The camp would include cabins, a petting zoo, a fishing pond, campfires, craft rooms and involve activities with the costumed characters.

"A lot of times, it's not possible for the kids to go on a big Make-A-Wish trip. They need to stay local and close to a hospital," Cofer said.

Get involved

On Oct. 29, L4 Cares will host their annual Dancing Under the Stars Halloween-themed fundraising event at Shooting Star Ranch involving a live auction, raffle prizes, food vendors and a costume contest. The event is family friendly, and tickets are available to the public for purchase.

Those interested in donating to or volunteering with L4 Cares can visit the website for more information.