Family Promise of Greater Des Moines will be sharing our home-cooked hospitality during the annual Comfort Food Cook-Off on Sunday, November 11, 2018. Presented by Banker’s Trust and Nationwide, the fundraiser will include delicious homemade dishes provided by dedicated (and culinary talented) volunteers from many of our host congregations. Hosted by West Des Moines Christian Church, the dress code is comfy and casual; jeans and a flannel shirt will do nicely!

“Over the last couple of years, the competition has intensified for both the Pot Trophy and People’s Choice Award,” said Jim Cain, executive director of FPGD. “The friendly competition has added to the enjoyment of the event.” Funds from the event help support the efforts of FPGD guests to secure employment and housing.

Celebrity judges include co-host Jackie Schmillen from CW Iowa Live, and on-air talent Taylor and Jen from LIFE 107.1 FM radio. KCCI News Channel 8 morning anchor Rheya Spigner will emcee the event.

Tickets are now available on our website - so mark it on your calendar. Bring your family, invite your friends and tell your church members about this great opportunity to support important Family Promise programs. In fact, you can just forward this eNewsletter!

If you’d like to volunteer during the event, please contact Sandy Rogers at

Event details
Sunday, November 11, 2018
5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

West Des Moines Christian Church
4501 Mills Civic Parkway
West Des Moines, IA 50265

$15 adults / $5 children (12 and under)

Call 515-277-7051 or visit for tickets. Tickets will also be sold at the door.
FPGD board member Denise Mineart — also a part-time Carter’s employee — delivered 156 pairs of jeans to executive director Jim Cain.
FPGD was chosen as the Central Iowa recipient charity for Carter’s Foundation and Oshkosh B’gosh campaign “JEANIUS”. From July through September, Carter’s customers could donate a pair of new jeans at any Oshkosh retail store (West Des Moines and the Outlets in Des Moines), which Carter’s matched with another pair of jeans to provide to youth in need for back-to-school wear.

In September, FPGD board member Denise Mineart – also a part-time Carter’s employee who nominated FPGD as a recipient – delivered a total of 156 pairs of donated new jeans to Executive Director Jim Cain at the Day Center.

“We shelter approximately 40 children a year, and many families have moved from place-to-place before they come to our shelter,” explained Cain. “So often they arrive with just a couple changes of clothes. This will help a lot of our families as kids head back to school.”

The donated jeans ranged in size from toddler through adolescent. Since most of FPGD guest families have school-aged children, we were able to share many of the donated jeans with partner agencies with children of varying ages.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the Carter’s Foundation and all of the wonderful customers who chose to donate jeans!
FPGD Executive Director Jim Cain (right) and Board Treasurer and Development Committee Chair Andy Conyers (left) pose with Stanley J. Heart (middle!) at a Variety - The Children's Charity of Iowa grant reception.
Family Promise of Greater Des Moines (FPGD) was awarded a $4,000 grant from Variety - The Children’s Charity to help fund supplies and guest expenses associated with their efforts to assist families with children experiencing homelessness.

The Variety grant will be used to assist parents in purchasing clothing for job interviews or uniforms, purchasing vital records such as birth certificates needed to obtain housing and day care, supplies for the organization’s day center, and short-term transportation assistance for parents finding employment and housing.

“Stable housing is essential to a child’s well-being and ability to excel,” said Jim Cain, FPGD executive director. “In 2018 so far, 83 percent of families have exited our program into permanent housing. Our partnership with Variety - The Children’s Charity helps make these successes possible.”

Thank you to Variety – The Children’s Charity for your continual support of our efforts!
FPGD board members Nicole Bruene-Vukelich (left) and LeAnn Larsen (right)
We are very grateful and proud of the Board of Directors that leads FPGD and our efforts to help families experiencing homelessness. We want you to get to know these great volunteers, so we are pleased to be introducing members in upcoming newsletters!

Nicole Bruene-Vukelich
Nicole Bruene-Vukelich joined the FPGD board of directors in June 2018 after learning the organization was looking for someone to lead the public relations and marketing committee activities. As a director of communications at Nationwide, Nicole has more than 20 years of experience in the field and felt like the fit was right!

“I love the fact that FPGD keeps families together,” Nicole explained. “I also think it’s unique that by working with area churches to provide food and shelter, we are able to reduce some of the financial burden on the community while giving more people opportunities to interact with families experiencing homelessness.”

When not at work and volunteering for FPGD, Nicole loves spending time with her family and friends. Nicole and her husband Milo live in Johnston with three children – Aly, who is completing her master’s degree at Baylor University; Jack, a member of the Iowa National Guard; and Hannah, a sophomore at Johnston High School.

LeAnn Larsen
As a Sammons Financial Group employee, LeAnn Larsen had participated the last two years in the FPGD Summer Celebration the company sponsors. Hearing the stories shared by guests at the Summer Celebrations spurred LeAnn to explore an opportunity to take a bigger role as a board member.

“I’ve known extended family to experience homelessness, and because of that experience, I’m aware of the crisis for affordable housing in the Des Moines area,” LeAnn said. “I like the fact that FPGD works to give families the necessary tools to get out of the situation that leads to losing a home.”

When she’s not working at Sammons Financial Group as a strategic business analyst, LeAnn crochets afghans, scarves and mittens, and baby booties for friends and family. She’s an avid reader of biographies, romance, true crime and spy novels. LeAnn is also a volunteer at Christ the King Catholic church, teaching catechism to adults seeking Confirmation.

LeAnn, a Des Moines native and East High School graduate, has been married to her husband, Lance, for 28 years. The couple has two daughters and six grandchildren.
Jon Duvick, a FPGD coordinator with Urbandale United Church of Christ, recently sent a message to his volunteers that was passed on to us. We wanted to share his words as they express so much of what we hope our host congregations and volunteers experience when helping FPGD families. Here is what Jon sent – in part - to his volunteers:

Jon Greising spoke a few words about the Family Promise week in the UUCC worship service today. In describing the situation of an older couple with two adopted boys, he brought to mind the phrase, “when bad things happen to good people.” Surely this couple is among “the good people,” folks who are doing their best, in their retirement years, to look after two minors from a troubled background – good kids who have a chance to make it! But [it's] much harder without a roof over their heads.

Every family in the program has a story, and we don’t always hear it, which is OK. We are not there to pry into lives, but to show compassion and support. But when we hear a bit of a story like this, we are reminded of how vitally important programs like Family Promise are to the health of our society. And it’s important to realize that it changes us for the better too, as it opens us up to more compassion and willingness to get involved. The Holy Spirit is working there somewhere.


In addition to financial gifts, in-kind donations are also extremely important to the success of our organization. Please drop off any of the following items at:

Family Promise of Greater Des Moines
4114 Allison Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50310
7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday through Friday
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Saturday.
  • Women and mens deodorant/body wash
  • Combs/brushes
  • Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen
Make an online financial donation 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.
Join a committee:
• Business Operations &
• Congregation Relations
• Fundraising/Development
• Public Relations and
  Marketing Committee
The 2017 Family Promise of Greater Des Moines annual report is now available to download online!
   • Deodorant
   • Body Wash
   • Combs/Brushes
   • Tylenol
   • Ibuprofen
For more information, visit
Host Congregations:
• Aldersgate UMC
• Ankeny First UMC
• Faith Lutheran
• First Unitarian
• Holy Trinity Lutheran
• Lutheran Church of Hope
• Our Lady’s Immaculate
• 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:
• Covenant Christian Church
• Holy Trinity Catholic
• St. Pius X Catholic Church
• St. Theresa Church of
  the Child Jesus
• West Des Moines
  Christian Church

Subscribe to our email list.