Families Helping Families of Iowa, Inc. (FHF) is a grassroots organization with humble beginnings, founded in 2005 with $100 and a vision. The vision was and is to raise awareness and provide access to basic need items and resources for children in foster care throughout the state of Iowa.
In 2006, Families Helping Families was able to secure 501(c)3 nonprofit status and incorporation.
To learn more or share the mission and programs of Families Helping Families, view and print our brochure [PDF].
We are a unique nonprofit organization offering programs and services designed specifically to help and assist Iowa’s foster care children, and the families that care for them.
The majority of requests come from foster care families in the Cedar Rapids and Iowa City corridor, with girls and boys from varied ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, aged newborn to 18 years old. The need was identified by those involved in the foster care system — many of our board members and volunteers. We know, firsthand, that there is a lack of resources available to this under-served demographic.
The average foster child moves seven times before the age of 18, usually abruptly leaving their home with very few personal belongings.At Families Helping Families, we feel that our programs and services help make these difficult transitions more bearable.
Currently, there are nearly 10,000 children in foster care in the state of Iowa. Families Helping Families exist to provide programs and services for these populations and demographics in foster care.
Due to our efforts, FHF was recognized and awarded the 2013 Governor’s Nonprofit Spotlight Award at the statewide Nonprofit Summit in Altoona.
Our Support & Growth
Today, with the help of many dedicated volunteers and community partnerships, Families Helping Families of Iowa is fulfilling the needs of foster children. We are a resource to the foster care community by providing access to basic need items 24 hours a day, seven days a week – the only social services organization in our area offering these services.
With thousands of yearly visits to our Clothing Closet, children receiving new shoes through our shoe voucher program, as well as receiving tutoring opportunities and scholarships for extracurricular activities, Families Helping Families is dedicated to continuing our mission of “Caring for Iowa’s Children in Foster Care.”
Annual Events by Families Helping Families
At Families Helping Families of Iowa, we host and sponsor annual events that support our mission and fundraise to continue offering programs and opportunities for children and families in Iowa’s foster care system. Learn more about our upcoming events below and visit our upcoming events to participate in the next event near you!
To start the school year off right, Families Helping Families of Iowa hosts an annual Back to School Rally that provides around 300 new backpacks fully stocked with new school supplies, a voucher for a free haircut, and a $50 shoe voucher to kids who are in foster care or approved/relative placement. This event is held every August.
Every child needs a superhero once in a while. Put your best superhero outfit on and join us for the annual Super Hero Bash. Teams of superheroes and area mascots celebrate together to raise awareness and money for Families Helping Families. Participants join the fun with games, face painting, contests, concessions, and a DJ to keep it lively. Join us for this annual event in October.
Our annual Winter Wonderland Celebration in December is open to all foster care families. Our family fun holiday party offers games, crafts, music, snacks, and beverages. And no holiday party is complete without a visit from Santa and his helpers! Kids who are in foster care, approved placement or adopted from foster care, are treated to a visit to Santa’s Workshop to select a gift.
Gifts for the children are donated through our Holiday Giving Tree program. Registration is required to make appropriate accommodations. This event is held every December.
Voices From Our Community
I first heard of Families Helping Families a few years ago when our two grandchildren were placed in our care through relative placement. All of a sudden we went from no kids to raising a 9-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.
When children are moved from their home it creates an enormous amount of stress for them. Our 9 year old would not sleep alone at night and our 13-year-old had issues with bullies at school.
We felt so out of touch and uncertain of where to start. Then, through foster care, we heard of a scholarship program sponsored by Families Helping Families with programs like tutoring sessions, dance, music, art, and taekwondo. We enrolled our 9-year-old in Evans ATA taekwondo and he began to really open up. He is now in the leadership program and achieved the level of 1st- and 2nd-degree black belt.
He is a real success story and we owe a great deal of his success to Families Helping Families. He is now a confident well-adjusted young man.
It warms my heart to see these kiddos grow from frightened children to caring future leaders in our community.
If you find yourself in a situation of need, Families Helping Families may be the answer to your prayers.
If you find that you have been blessed with the ability to give your time or financial assistance, Families Helping Families is definitely the place for you. Children are our future and they change children’s lives.
Thanks again for all that you do.
Larry P., local grandparent