(Curbside) Comfort Food Cook-Off Is a Success!

When we first started planning for the 8th Annual Comfort Food Cook-Off this year, there were a lot of considerations. Most notably was the question of whether we could safely hold an event during a global pandemic. As special events remain the primary way we raise funds to continue providing important services to families experiencing homelessness, this was not an easy decision to make. We needed to plan carefully to achieve our three main goals: raise funds, keep it safe for everyone involved, and have fun. Thus, the Curbside Comfort Food Cook-Off was born!
Incredibly, for the first time in eight years, the Comfort Food Cook-Off sold out of 200 tickets! Through the support of our presenting sponsors, Nationwide and Conference Event Management, we invited six host congregations (all winners from previous years’ events) to prepare dishes for volunteers to package and participants to pick up. From online registration and ticket purchases, to drive-through food pick-up and online voting, the event remained socially distanced and still raised more than $10,000 to support our guest families!
Our celebrity judges, Jackie Schmillen and Lou Sipolt from Iowa Live and co-hosts Jen Green and Taylor Hohulin from Life 107.1, kept the event lively with Facebook Live videos (watch them here). Participants were given a glimpse behind the scenes as volunteers packaged and delivered food to ticket holders in their cars and judges sampled and discussed the dishes. At the end of the evening, the judges also announced their choice for the traveling “Pot Trophy” winner, Hot Chicken Salad prepared by First Unitarian Church.
Participants enjoyed their food samples at home and voted online for their favorite dish. We tallied votes (donations) for each congregation on Nov. 9 and announced the People’s Choice award winner – Walnut Hills United Methodist with Biscuits and Gravy.
Congratulations to the congregation winners, and a huge thank you to all participating congregations, sponsors, volunteers and event participants for helping us pull off a great evening during a very difficult year!
If you were unable to join the event but would still like to contribute, donate here.
See (Curbside) Comfort Food Cook-Off photos here.
A Safe Place to Call Home
Chanel and her teenage kids came to Family Promise of Greater Des Moines last fall from Eastern Iowa. In an effort to create a safer home life, Chanel made the difficult decision to leave her job, the kids’ school and everything they knew. 
We were able to help Chanel with shelter and meals while she found and started a new job. Chanel has thrived with her new employer and was soon promoted to a management position. Chanel said that it was helpful to be in the program while she looked for permanent housing, and the family of three recently moved into an apartment where they feel like they are able to start over.
“Family Promise was helpful because it gave my kids and me a safe place to live when we didn’t have anywhere else to go,” Chanel said. “I really liked the program. We also hadn’t had a home-cooked meal in a while, and the food that was brought in was very good.”
As always, we’re thankful for our host congregations that provide meals and moral support to our guest families, and the donors who make all of our services possible. We are happy Chanel and her children found their fresh start through our collective support!
Board Spotlight - Michelle Lickteig
Even though the majority of her time on the Family Promise of Greater Des Moines (FPGD) board of directors has been a virtual experience so far due to the pandemic, Michelle Lickteig is passionate about the organization’s mission. After being invited to learn more about FPGD, Michelle was instantly moved to join the board.
“It immediately spoke to my heart,” Michelle explained. “I believe shelter and food are the true foundation for someone to feel secure. I love that FPGD is providing those and also the opportunity for a family to stay together during hard times.”
Michelle serves as assistant general counsel at Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Des Moines. When she’s not working, she enjoys spending time with her two children, Mel and Jack, and her husband, John.
After joining the board a little less than a year ago, and experiencing most meetings online for social distancing purposes, Michelle was excited to finally provide in-person support as a volunteer during the November (Curbside) Comfort Food Cook-Off.
“Experiencing the event with my board colleagues and other volunteers was a wonderful experience,” she said. “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with all of them and the FPGD staff. What an amazing group!”
Our thanks to Michelle for donating her time and talents to the FPGD board of directors!


In addition to financial gifts, in-kind donations are also extremely important to the success of our organization. We have an AmazonSmile Wish List for easy ordering and delivery with just a click of your mouse! 

Make an online financial donation here!
As the holidays approach, we want to take the time to say a heartfelt “thank you” to every one of you who reads our newsletter, attends our events (even virtual), donates and/or volunteers with us. We understand that this year has been truly trying for everyone, so it is deeply moving to feel the support our families continue to receive despite a worldwide crisis. Please know that we recognize this special effort.
The positive outlook and attitudes we see displayed by our guest families—that they will get through tough times and regain their footing—keeps us motivated and inspired. We hope it also provides much-needed encouragement to you!
We wish you a wonderful holiday season!
Thank you for supporting the families we serve!

Our Mission:
To mobilize our community to help homeless families achieve stable housing
and income through compassionate care, hospitality and professional support.
Host Congregations:
Aldersgate UMC
• Ankeny First UMC
• Faith Lutheran
• First Unitarian
   • Grimes United
   Methodist Church
   • Holy Trinity Lutheran
  • Holy Trinity Catholic     Church
  • Lutheran Church of Hope
• Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart
• Plymouth United Church of Christ
• Ss. John & Paul Parish
• St. Stephen Lutheran
• Urbandale United Church of Christ
• Walnut Hills UMC
• Westminster Presbyterian
• Windsor Heights Lutheran
Support Congregations:
• St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church
• St. Pius X Catholic Church
• St. Theresa Church of the Child Jesus
• West Des Moines
  Christian Church

Subscribe to our email list.