What has now become an annual tradition; the Deb and Jeff Hansen Foundation and Iowa Select Farms packed and delivered Valentine’s Day Care Packages to the 600 families of Children’s Cancer Connection.
“A big part of what we do revolves around the simple idea of bringing joy to children who have already faced some pretty big hardships in their lives,” said Jen Sorenson, communications director for Iowa Select Farms. “It’s our way of sending love and encouragement, and to let them know we are always thinking about them.”
In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, families from across the state opened their doors to care packages designed to bring parents and children together for a fun family activity—baking and decorating sugar cookies. The care packages contained a chef’s hat, apron, pig spatula and measuring set, hot pad, oven mitt, decorative cookie sprinkles (pigs, of course), candy and a pack of activity cards containing games, Valentine’s, coloring projects and child-friendly recipes.
Employees of Iowa Select Farms and Children’s Cancer Connection rotated through the “assembly room” over the course of three days, popping up boxes, placing in the gifts and then decorating the packages with bright, festive stickers and box wraps.
Parents were given a head’s up from the staff at CCC about the special Valentine’s Day delivery so they could watch the doorstep and let the child participate in the opening and unwrapping.
“We get really great feedback from the parents about how it brought smiles to their children’s faces, and provided the means for a fun family activity,” said Sorenson. Care packages are also to families in June in celebration of grilling season and outdoor fun, and again before Halloween, another holiday geared towards children.
The Foundation also teams up with CCC to host events for children and their families. In August, the Back-to-School Bash provides free school suppliers for families, and December brings the annual Holiday Drop-off Party at the Hansen Home for Hope.
Children and their families are referred to Children’s Cancer Connection by Blank Children’s Hospital, University of Iowa Children’s Hospital, or through friends and families already involved with the organization. Programs and services of Children’s Cancer Connection programs are offered at little or no cost to the families, and no one is ever turned away.