BOSTON (CBS) — Families and pastry chefs took part in a competitive gingerbread house decorating fundraiser Monday to support at-risk youth at The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston.

A boy named Max and his family worked on one of the 20 gingerbread houses being constructed using several candies including licorice, Sour Patch Kids, pretzels, and marshmallows.

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The youngster was handling quality control at the annual fundraiser.

“I’ve just tasted the marshmallows,” Max says. “They’re good.”

It’s a light-hearted, fun event, but it’s roots are far more serious. Meredith Bryan, vice president of development and communications for Home for Little Wanderers, says their services go to help some of the most traumatized children of the Commonwealth.

“If the child’s behavior is so severe and acute and their needs are so great, they can live with us in one of our residences,” she says.

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The nonprofit organization helps children from birth-to-22 years old, and each year they provide behavioral health, therapeutic, and adoption and foster services to more than 7,000 kids, according to the Home for Little Wanderers website.

Without assistance from the nation’s oldest child welfare organization, Bryan says children “wouldn’t be able to make it in a traditional foster care family.”

She says Home for Little Wanderers has a separate foster care called “Intensive Foster Care.”

All proceeds benefit the organization.

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WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Karen Twomey reports