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State Honoree

Jill Martin

Iowa

Jill Martin, 14, of Granger, Iowa, a member of the Dallas County ISU Extension in Adel and an eighth-grader at Assumption Grade School, made 100 toiletry kits for homeless and abused women and children staying at the Des Moines House of Mercy. “I know that women and children in violent situations sometimes need to leave during the night with only the clothes on their backs,” said Jill. She thought they would feel much better if they had some personal-care items, so she sewed a prototype of a kit made out of a washcloth, with pockets to hold various toiletry items. Then she developed a presentation and began collecting donated soap, toothbrushes, shampoo, lotions, perfume and other items from motels, dental offices and cosmetic stores. “I was amazed by the generosity of people,” she said. “No one turned me down.” Jill used her babysitting money to buy washcloths, ribbon and thread for her kits, which were sewn and filled with help from her mother and grandmother. After delivering the finished kits to House of Mercy, Jill learned that they were very well-received by the clients. She hopes to deliver 200 kits to the shelter this spring.