When volunteers with Support Siouxland Soldiers learned many area Army and Air National Guard service members would be deploying this year, they began to brainstorm ideas to support these families.
Deployment dolls are comforting for military children, but the cost of an individual custom doll is prohibitive for many families, let alone buying one for each child.
After receiving funding from the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation’s Project: Food and Fellowship Program―and organizing volunteers to print, stuff and sew the dolls―the project took off in May 2020.
"This project, to provide a free deployment doll to every child of deploying Siouxland Service members, is truly one of the most meaningful volunteer projects I've been involved in. Seeing the photos of local military children holding their new dolls bring tears to my eyes,” said Lori Risdal, Support Siouxland Soldiers volunteer. “We’re so grateful to the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation for helping us make this happen.”
Each doll is approximately 12 inches tall, custom-printed with the full-length image of their Soldier or Airman, and backed with patriotic material. To date, nearly 200 dolls have been ordered, with over 100 dolls already distributed to Siouxland service members to give to their children prior to deployment.
The Deb and Jeff Hansen’s Project: Food and Fellowship helps organizations like Siouxland Soldiers make their events more special, meaningful and purposeful.