A spaghetti dinner and silent auction were held on Dec. 1 at Nibley City Hall to raise money for the Henson’s, the Smithfield family of seven who recently lost their home due to asbestos, an infestation of black mold and a crumbling foundation. This event, called Helping the Henson’s, was created by the Cache Valley community to raise money for the family so they have a place to live throughout the winter.
“The event was such an emotional boost to the Hensons, who have literally lost everything,” said Ashley S. Baker, the media and public relations coordinator for the Helping the Hensons organization.
Baker said the evening went much better than the Hensons and all who volunteered had expected. Roughly 200 items were donated from community members and local businesses to auction; items varied from gift certificates to local restaurants and shops, to a full door hardware set, a copy machine, exercise equipment and more.
“Each item was a gift of love and we are so grateful for all of our donors help on the auction,” Baker said.
Over 200 people attended and all but a few items were sold. The silent auction will continue online for any items not sold at the event. For the privacy of the Henson family, dollar amounts will not be released to the public.
“After living in their backyard for eight months in various campers and travel trailers, an owner-financed home has been found through connections with the local home builders association which the Hensons will be moving into sometime in December,” said Baker.
All the funds raised by Helping the Henson’s will be used to help them with financing this home and moving expenses, as well as updating the bathroom, removing old wallpaper and updating the septic and propane tanks. Because of the asbestos and black mold that took over their prior home, the family will also have to buy new mattresses, beds and clothing. They will also need to replace their farm’s generator, which was stolen the day after the family found out they were losing their home.
“We are so grateful to all of those who attended, who donated auction items, the wonderful volunteers from our local mom's group and the Cache Valley Home Builders Association who made all of the logistics possible,” said Whitney Olsen, a community member who helped create Helping the Hensons.
More information on the Henson’s can be found on their family blog at www.lifetakestenacity.com.