Organizations distribute ‘happy boxes’ to middle school students in Jones County

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 10:43 PM CDT
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ANAMOSA, Iowa (KCRG) - With just weeks until the end of the school year, a coalition in Jones County is helping kids and their families stay safe and healthy this summer.

The Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition teamed up with Equipping Youth, an organization based in Linn County, to hand out “happy boxes” to middle school families in the area for free on Monday in Anamosa. They put together about 125 boxes, which included information on topics like substance use and treatment, preventing human trafficking, and resiliency.

Normally these organizations and others hold a health fair and dinner in Anamosa to distribute this information, but the pandemic put that on hold this year.

The boxes also contained fun items, like snacks, Dairy Queen coupons, and playing cards.

“We know what’s most important is parents being involved with their kids, so having that time together, playing cards, time just building relationships is one of the things that helps prevent substance use,” Jennifer Husmann, the project coordinator for Jones County Safe and Healthy Youth Coalition, said.

Monday’s giveaway is also in conjunction with a virtual event the coalition is hosting Tuesday, on the pandemic, mental health, and underage drinking. The panel will feature Dr. Paul Gilbert, an alcohol expert and professor at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health, Melissa Paulsen, the CEO of Mental Health at Life Connections, and Jones County Sheriff Greg Graver, along with local students.

Anyone interested in attending should contact Husmann through the coalition’s website.

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