To continue to help needy farm children, the Helping Hand Club contributed $375,000 to Children's Hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN.

The club, chartered as the non-profit Webb Foundation, has dissolved but remains as an active endowment choice through the Children's Hospitals. “The donation ensures that the legacy of helping continues,” says Bob Moraczewski, president of the former Helping Hand Club.

It all started with Lloyd, whose last name remains confidential. The date: 1928.

Crippled by infantile paralysis, four-year-old Lloyd's future looked grim. Worse yet, paying for extensive treatment was a hardship for his parents, struggling farmers from southwest South Dakota.

Still, Lloyd's father contacted the newly established Children's Hospital in St. Paul, seeking any medical treatment that would help his young son walk again.

Fortunately, the little boy was treated and, indeed, able to run and play just like other little kids. However, paying for the hospital expenses was nearly impossible until The Farmer magazine stepped in and published a story about Lloyd's situation. Within three weeks, readers had contributed more than $4,000 to help offset expenses.

Contributions arrived at the St. Paul Webb Publishing office in quarters, halves and dollars — more than needed to cover medical expenses. The rest of the donations were used to start the Helping Hand Club, now administered by Soybean Digest, a Primedia agribusiness magazine.

Today, almost 75 years later, the Helping Hand Club, funded by readers in South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin, has helped more than 700 farm families with the burdening costs of medical care. In addition, the Helping Hand Club negotiates with health care providers to gain discounts on services for farm children. Throughout the years the Club operated without administrative costs. All contributions are used to defray medical costs.

As one family recently helped by the fund wrote: “We spent many sleepless nights worrying and praying about these bills we just couldn't pay. It feels as if a burden has been lifted from our shoulders.”

The money will continue to be used to benefit farm families by helping pay for health costs, says Moraczewski who is a Sr. VP of Primedia Business Magazines and Media. “Our goal remains to help relieve the stress and hardship felt by families who often are underinsured or uninsured. We can now do that more effectively through the Children's Hospitals.”

Tax-deductible donations to the fund can be made payable to Children's Hospitals and Clinics Foundation, 2910 Centre Pointe Drive, Roseville, MN 55113, Attention: Kari Chatto. Please note on the check that the gift is for the Helping Hand Club Endowment.