Hope Prevails in the Midst of Fear

No need to remind you that the world is dealing with one of the most confusing times we’ve experienced in decades. Fears have skyrocketed from the COVID-19 pandemic, anger and sadness have surfaced from racial inequities, and someone said something about murder hornets? Though these issues are real and certainly require much-needed attention and action, the constant and unrelenting threat of family homelessness has not waivered.
And neither has our promise.
Our guest families are still at the core of our purpose. We have acted swiftly and cautiously to ensure our guests receive the same care, precautions and safe shelter that those in their own homes are afforded. On March 19th, we took the unprecedented step of having our guest families “shelter-in-place” at Westminster Presbyterian church (the location of our Day Center).
Even though we’ve not been hosting through our weekly congregation rotation, we couldn’t have pulled off sheltering in place without the continued dedication of more than 200 volunteers and counting. Instead of hosting at their congregations during their scheduled week, these selfless individuals have ventured from their homes to deliver dinner or stay overnight with our guests.
From March 19 through June 23, we have provided shelter, food and social services to 10 families, including 12 adults and 25 chidlren. To date, no one in our program or among our guests has tested positive for COVID-19.
This season has not been easy for the FPGD team or our guests; however, spirits remain high. What keeps us going is the commitment from our volunteers, the generosity of our supporters and the hope we still feel from the families we serve. Their attitudes remain remarkably positive.
“You guys did so much to help us," shared one mom at her family’s exit. Another parent said, "I love this shelter. Jim, LaToya and Jai are awesome - thanks guys!”
The children are still laughing, families are playing games, kids are shooting hoops in the parking lot and one mom discovered her inner artist. Fear and uncertainty still exist and, at times, threaten our resolve. But hope still prevails.
And for that, we’re thankful.
(Pictured: One of the painting created by the mother of a guest family)
Your Generosity Keeps Us Going
Like so many other organizations, we had to make the very tough choice to cancel our annual Summer Celebration and Silent Auction originally planned for June 5. While we felt it was the safe choice for the health of event attendees, it was not decided without great concern for the nearly $33,000 we typically raise to help us continue operations throughout the year.
Ironically, among all the misfortune with the pandemic, we learned that grace and generosity abound! We rallied our troops (staff, board, sponsors and friends) to help communicate our need for supplemental funding without the event. Through letters, emails and social media posts for #GivingTuesdayNow, we spread the word far and wide that our operational budget was in dire straits – and your generosity blew us away!
Not only did our event sponsors still donate their sponsorships even without an event, our donors showed their commitment and promise to our guest families to help them during their greatest time of need. We were able to raise more than $35,000 in a little over two months—and donations are still coming in! Thanks to the Birdies for Charity matching program (see story below), many people were able to make their donations go even further with up to a 10% match.
These donations help us to pay staffing costs, including overtime to reduce the number of volunteers needing to be out in the community, operations costs of the Day Center, such as food for breakfast and lunch, transportation costs for parents to look for or go to work, as well as medical appointments and search for housing.  Equally important are the in-kind donations we’ve received—hand sanitizer, gloves, cloth masks, homemade face shields, baby wipes, diapers, and toys and games. We cannot express adequately how much this funding was needed and appreciated.
While we sincerely miss the opportunity to celebrate the successes our guest families experienced over the last year among our friends at the Summer Celebration, our hearts are full. We look forward to celebrating even more when we can all gather again!
Birdies for Charity Extends Giving Opportunity Through September
Following the theme of “everything is different this year,” the Principal Charity Classic has rescheduled its golf tournament from May to September, which also extends the Birdies for Charity donation dates through September.
Birdies for Charity provides Iowa nonprofit organizations with a unique opportunity to raise additional funds. Thanks to generous sponsors Sammons Financial and Wells Fargo, all donations up to $10,000 made to FPGD through Birdies for Charity are offered up to a 10 percent match. It’s a great way to make your donations go much further!
Donate through Birdies for Charity here!
Volunteers Ensure Former Guest Children Receive Food After Schools Shut Down
After Des Moines schools closed in March because of COVID-19, they began offering free lunch pick-up knowing school meals are the main source of food and nutrition for many children. The challenge for some of our former guest families was transportation to get the food. 
Because our Aftercare Program ensures families have access to services they need after they find permanent housing, Case Manager Latoya Scott recruited several board members and other supporters to ensure four families with 14 children received these lunches. Latoya and several volunteers picked up and delivered food to each family's home daily Monday – Friday through the end of May.
Latoya and the volunteers were rewarded with kisses blown out the window from 2-year old Apollo, smiles on the faces of children from other families, and the heartfelt thanks of the parents. 
(Pictured: Kids of a former guest family enjoy school lunches picked up/delivered by FPGD volunteer)
Host Coordinator Spotlight - Karen Hamilton
After nearly a decade serving as the Family Promise of Greater Des Moines (FPGD) Host Coordinator at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Karen Hamilton is ready to pass the coordinator baton on to a new leader.
“It’s time for a change and for someone new to take over,” Karen said. She had her husband Mike have been volunteers, then coordinators, since their congregation first started helping FPGD in 2005. In that time, she said she learned a lot and had a ton of fun. But she felt the most valuable aspect was helping to keep families together while they were experiencing homelessness.
“Any time you give, you get back more than you give,” Karen explained. Her compassion for the families she’s helped through the years comes from understanding we all may need some extra help at any time. “Mike and I were young, married and broke at one time. We had those times when if the car had broken down again, it could have been bad.”
FPGD Executive Director Jim Cain said volunteers in the Host Coordinator position are critical to the success of the program. “We are so grateful to people like Karen who believe in helping our guest families through their difficult times. Their willingness to take the lead and ensure their congregation is prepared to help and care for our families is a special way to give back,” Jim explained.
Karen and Mike, both now in their 70s, will continue on as volunteers for FPGD with their congregation. Even through COVID-19, the couple volunteers to ensure families are feeling loved and valued. Their adult daughter also joins as a volunteer from time-to-time. Karen is hoping that more young people from her congregation will step up and bring new ideas and energy to the program.
“There have been a lot of highlights through the years,” Karen says. “We’ve had a lot of fun, but now we need some new enthusiasm to carry it forward.”
Thank you, Karen, for many years of helping to keep families together while they get back on their feet!
(Pictured: Mike and Karen Hamilton with their dog, Cooper)
Save the Date!
Comfort Food Cook-Off - November 8, 2020
Planning is underway for our annual Comfort Food Cook-Off! We’ll admit it may look a little different this year as we plan for appropriate social distancing and other health precautions. But our committees are getting creative and working hard to find ways we can all still enjoy some home-cooked meals while raising funds for family homelessness—safely.
Please mark your calendars and look for more information from us in the next couple months!


In addition to financial gifts, in-kind donations are also extremely important to the success of our organization. We also have an AmazonSmile Wish List for easy ordering and delivery with just a click of your mouse! 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
  • Shampoo and conditioner 
  • Deodorant (men's and women's) 
  • Facial tissue
  • Toothpaste
  • Lotion
  • Baby wipes
  • Men's and Women's razors

    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.
2020 Events:
November 8
Comfort Food Cook-Off
Host Congregations:
Aldersgate UMC
• Ankeny First UMC
• Faith Lutheran
• First Unitarian
   • Grimes United
   Methodist Church
   • Holy Trinity Lutheran
• 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:
Holy Trinity Catholic Church
• St. Pius X Catholic Church
• St. Theresa Church of the Child Jesus
• West Des Moines
  Christian Church

Subscribe to our email list.