Henry's Heroes Packing Party
It was a big day for one-year old Henry Johnson. Fifty of his friends gathered this weekend to celebrate his first birthday.
With the help of their parents and some of the older children, Henry and his friends thoughtfully selected things that made them happy, like Paw Patrol bath soap, Emoji Band-Aids, Sesame Street lotion and Barbie toothbrushes.
Tucked in between first aid kits, pacifiers, bottles, sippy cups, warm hats, mittens and tissue packs was a special Peek-a-boo toy and a book Henry loves.
But the boxes were not for Henry, nor were they for all of his friends. Items were donated by Henry’s family and his guests and the boxes were assembled for the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation’s Henry’s Heroes program.
Henry’s Heroes provides help to children who may be living in shelters, emergency housing, or part of a family that has turned to their community’s food pantry to help them through tough times.
With 200 care packages assembled, taped and completed, the kids saw the project though. They tidied, carried the boxes out to the parking lot and loaded every box onto a trailer. Over the next few weeks, the boxes will be bound for family emergency resource facilities through the communities of Iowa Select Farms.
Henry is a grandchild of Jeff and Deb Hansen and the son of Natalie and Jake Johnson. Natalie had the vision for Henry’s Heroes after she and Jake organized a donation of Henry’s baby shower items to be gifted to Blank Children’s Hospital.
After Henry was born, they founded the program to help provide basic children’s necessities not covered by the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infant and Children (WIC) or other governmental support programs. Common items include bottles, diapers, children’s medicine, shampoo, lotion and other hygiene products.
The Henry’s Heroes Program was added in 2019 to the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation’s coalition of programs that help communities across Iowa. Items will be distributed to communities through the Foundation’s Haul Out Hunger, Operation Christmas Meal and Little Free Pantry programs, and direct to emergency family resource facilities.
Founded in 2006, the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms operates programs throughout Iowa focused on providing hunger relief, showing gratitude to members of the Armed Services, and supporting families impacted by childhood cancer.