Another Successful (and Delicious) Comfort Food Cook-Off

After successfully holding the first-ever Curbside Comfort Food Cook-Off in 2020 to accomodate social distancing, we're happy to say we held the 9th annual Comfort Food Cook-Off curbside successfully again this year!
Through the support of our presenting sponsors, Nationwide and F&G, we invited participants to buy tickets online and drive up to receive their packaged food samples provided by 5 of our host congregation partners. The dishes were delicious, as usual, and we were able to raise more than $11,000 to help support families experiencing homelessness! We were also lucky this year to have both KCCI and WHO-TV cover the event and share about the Family Promise mission.
Our celebrity judges, Jackie Schmillen and Lou Sipolt from We Are Iowa and Taylor Hohulin and Logan Rhodes from Life 107.1 FM, kept people at home updated 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, Mary’s Lasagna by Walnut Hills United Methodist.
Participants enjoyed their food samples at home and voted online for their favorite dish. We tallied votes (donations) for each congregation and the People’s Choice award was won by Walnut Hills United Methodist members Peggy and Matthew for their Taco Chicken Soup.
Congratulations to all of the winners, and a huge thank you to every participating congregation and the sponsors, volunteers and event participants for helping to make this event great again! 
If you were unable to join the event but would still like to contribute, please donate here.
See more 2021 (Curbside) Comfort Food Cook-Off photos here.

Grant Provides Technology Upgrade for FPGD Staff

Recently, Family Promise National announced an opportunity for Family Promise Affiliates to win grant money for technology updates. Family Promise of Greater Des Moines was one of 35 affiliates chosen. We were awarded $5,000 that will be used to buy four business grade laptops for our staff. 
Although our current laptops are in working condition, they have proven inadequate to handle our workload. This grant helps ensure our technology can keep up with the important work we do. As a bonus, it also provides us the opportunity to donate our four current laptops to graduates of our program!
As Family Promise National explained, “This funding will allow Affiliates to better assist clients and families through the intake process, to track data and family housing successes, to communicate with donors, to engage volunteers, and to support staff through remote or hybrid work.”
Volunteers Make Christmas Special for Guest Families
‘Tis the season of giving, and there’s no better gift than the gift of Christmas! We have facilitated Christmas “adoptions” for our current and graduate guest families who celebrate the holiday. Guest families will provide a Christmas wish list which is then passed along to a generous volunteer who gets to play Santa. The gifts arrive wrapped and ready to take their place under a family’s tree. 
This year we were able to secure enough volunteers to provide gifts for 24 families ranging in size from two to seven. Most of the parents wished for basic home goods or work clothes, while the children asked for all sorts of games, bicycles, books, and toys. No matter what gifts are provided, the families will enjoy the magic of a Christmas morning spent unwrapping presents together. 
“My kids will be happy with anything they’re given,” one mother said when filling out her list. 
This process is truly a joy for everyone involved. The experience is also a reminder of what the holidays represent: family and generosity. 
As the gifts start being delivered, one thing is certain—our volunteers are definitely making Santa’s nice list this year! 
Board Spotlight: RJ Charlton
As an employee of long-time Family Promise supporter Sammons Financial Group, RJ Charlton was familiar with our mission before joining the board. When another Sammons employee stepped down from the board, RJ took the opportunity to volunteer in her place. He was excited to contribute to an organization that walks alongside families struggling with homelessness.
“There are very few places where a family struggling with homelessness can stay, and the family can be together,” he says. “Forcing a family apart when working through this situation adds another layer of trauma and another step to overcome to get through. Family Promise’s ability to keep families together through this difficult situation is encouraging and important.”
When he’s not working and volunteering, RJ enjoys spending time with his family and reading. He and his wife, Abby, live in Des Moines with their four children—Henry (14), Harper (12), Mavis (6) and Arlena (4).

Your Donations Help Us Assist More Families

Our annual year-end appeal has gone out and your financial contributions can help us start off the New Year right! Any financial gifts can be made online or via mail and are very much appreciated.
In addition to financial gifts, in-kind donations are also extremely important to the success of our organization. Our biggest needs right now are winter items such as hats, coats, and gloves. We also have an  AmazonSmile Wish List for easy ordering and delivery with just a click of your mouse!

Donate Here!
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
   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
• Urbandale United Church of Christ
• Walnut Hills UMC
• Westminster Presbyterian
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
  • Windsor Heights           Lutheran

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