STRATHMORE – An Alberta family turned a terrifying misfortune into an opportunity to learn, and to help the local community.
Jodi Henke and her family closed out 2021 collecting donations primarily of diapers and wipes for the Wheatland County Food Bank, as a way to show her kids there is more good than bad in the community.
“What happened was, my car got stolen out of the driveway one morning as I was getting my kids ready for school, and they were right there when it happened. It really quite terrified them,” she said.
“My son, after I did finally get them to school after everything calmed down, called me that day... he was worried about me being home by myself.”
Henke added that, being young children, they were afraid to sleep following the theft, fearing their home would be broken into next.
It was following a discussion with her husband, Tyler Henke, that the family decided to try and do some good.
“Tyler reached out to the food bank and found out what they were currently in need of, and it was diapers and wipes,” she said.
“We just threw it out there that we were raising money or physical donations for the food bank, hoping to get a few things to show them... that there is more good than bad, and it took off like wildfire.”
The family decided to collect donations for roughly a week and a half before they went to the food bank to drop off what they had collected.
According to Henke, they were able to raise about $1,385 in cash donations, as well as physical donations, and from people donating online.
“It’s really cool to see the community come together after such an awful thing happening,” she said.
“(The kids) were so happy just being able to do something good, and the best part of it was it gave them something positive to focus on, as opposed to, the negative or the scariness of what had happened.”
The delivery was made to the facility on Jan. 10, after the kids were released from school for the day. Henke added the physical donations filled the back of their minivan almost to bursting.
The family had estimated they would raise roughly $500 worth of items for the food bank, never imagining they would generate nearly three times that sum in donations.
“I was just speechless (at) the amount of donations that we received in support from the community, so it’s nice to be able to give that back where it needs to be,” said Henke.
“(The kids) really enjoy doing their part, and this isn’t the first time that they’ve been a part of a fundraiser, but they always are very excited to give 100 per cent when it comes to any kind of fundraising.”