Program is one of several charitable initiatives of Deb and Jeff Hansen, who founded Iowa Select Farms.

March 19, 2024

3 Min Read
Iowa Select Farms

Through its “Henry’s Heroes” program, representatives from the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms recently delivered 500 “Dream Kits” to organizations that help children who are being rehomed due to unsafe and unstable family environments.

The need is real: The U.S. Department of Education’s Early Childhood Homelessness state profile and the Kids Count Data Center estimate that nearly 7,000 children under the age of 6 in Iowa – approximately one in 34 – experienced homelessness in 2019 (the most recent year data has been released). Additionally, more than 4,100 children were in foster care in Iowa in 2021, and of those children, 26% had more than two placements. In that same year, 267 youth in Iowa were in juvenile detention or correctional facilities.

Children in these situations often have few, if any, belongings or things to call their own. The Dream Kits include:

  • Wheeled luggage tote

  • Large blanket quilt

  • Plush animal pig

  • Toiletries and essentials (toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hairbrush, ChapStick, wet wipes)

  • Medical supplies (thermometer and children's Tylenol)

  • Coloring kits to spark imagination

“The reality is that thousands of children across Iowa do not have a permanent or safe place to call home, facing unimaginable family situations such as neglect, violence, mental health challenges, substance abuse and homelessness,” said Jamie Horbach, director of public affairs, Iowa Select Farms. “We hope the Dream Kits act as a gesture of love and support, create a sense of familiarity and comfort to these kids, and inspire them to dream big despite their current circumstances.”

The 500 Dream Kits were donated to six organizations across the state, encompassing crisis centers, shelters and intervention specialist organizations, including:

  • Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center

    • Counties served: Adair, Adams, Clarke, Dallas, Decatur, Guthrie, Madison, Ringgold, Taylor and Union.

  • SafePlace

    • Counties served: Buena Vista, Calhoun, Carroll, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Ida, Lyon, Monona, O'Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Sioux and Woodbury.

  • Assault Care Center Extending Shelter & Support (ACCESS)

    • Counties served: Boone, Greene, Marshall, Story and Tama.

  • Crisis Intervention Service (CIS)

    • Counties served: Butler, Cerro Gordo, Chickasaw, Floyd, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Kossuth, Mitchell, Webster, Winnebago, Worth and Wright.

  • Domestic/Sexual Assault Outreach Center (DSAOC)

    • Counties served: Boone, Butler, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Floyd, Greene, Grundy, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Humboldt, Kossuth, Marshall, Mitchell, Story, Tama, Webster, Winnebago, Worth and Wright.

  • Children & Families of Iowa

    • Counties served: Polk and Warren but serves all 99 counties.

“As with most reporting numbers regarding any type of trauma, survivors have valid reasons for not reporting their reality and asking for items they may need. There are often negative consequences for parents and caregivers to admit that they are experiencing housing instability or homelessness as it puts their family at risk,” said Kacey Barrow, training director, Crisis Intervention and Advocacy Center. “We are grateful to the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation, Iowa Select Farms and Henry’s Heroes for recognizing the need and stepping in to provide comfort and care to these children.”

Henry’s Heroes is one of several charitable initiatives of the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and is unique in that annually it adapts with new initiatives to meet the changing needs of Iowa communities where Iowa Select Farms employees and contractors live and work. The program supplies children’s personal care items to hospitals, food pantries, and women and children’s shelters. In the past, the program has provided STEM carts to local libraries and donated toy boxes to daycare centers, for example.

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