Community Action at Urbandale UCC
UUCC is involved! We invite you to explore these opportunities to make a difference:
- AMOS – A mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy. Contact:
- Central Iowa Shelter meals – Periodic meal sponsorship at CISS. Contact:
- Community Spaghetti Dinner – Every 2nd Wednesday in Fellowship Hall. Contact; Jennifer Gardner
- Family Promise – Sheltering families for a week 4 times a year. Contact: Jon Duvick
- Habitat for Humanity – Helping repair and build affordable homes in our community. Contact:
- Hunger Hike – Raising money and hunger awareness every October. Contact: Kathy Marean, Sandy Gahn
- Pride Day – In celebration of the LGBTQ community, in June. Contact:
- Refugee Families – Aiding local refugee settlement. Contact:
- The Giving Tree – Summertime gifts to needy families. Contact:
- Urbandale Food Pantry – Donations collected monthly. Contact:
Our congregation is involved with AMOS (A Midwest Organizing Strategy), and we will intentionally engage members in one of four study/action groups AMOS is currently working (immigration, the economy, health care and education). AMOS allows us to work with others from the faith community, empowering one another to work toward common solutions to problems in the community and state.
Central Iowa Shelter Meals
On a regular basis, many of us serve dinner at the Central Iowa Shelter and Services. This is an emergency shelter in downtown Des Moines for homeless women and men. Volunteers are needed to bake/provide food, transport food from the church to the shelter and serve the meal. We often need money for the meal; donations may be put in the offering plates marked “Central Iowa Shelter Meal.” Also, look for sign-up sheets on the Narthex table to make food and bring items for the meal. If you would like more information, directions to the shelter or a ride to the shelter, contact the Community Concerns Team.
Community Spaghetti Dinner
On the second Wednesday of each month, from 5:30 to 7p.m., we host a community spaghetti dinner. This is a monthly opportunity to welcome the strangers in our midst with a hot meal—and specifically, to invite those experiencing food scarcity to share a meal with us. Everyone is welcome! Members are encouraged to sign up to bring a needed food item, assist with meal preparation or clean-up duty. Invite others to come and eat with us! Questions? Contact Jennifer Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are a host church with the Family Promise of Greater Des Moines. Approximately four times per year for a week, we provide food and overnight shelter to three homeless families as an alternative to area shelters (which are forced by limited resources to separate husbands from wives and parents from their opposite-sex children). From cooking and serving, to serving as an overnight host, from providing transportation to organizing supplies and doing laundry, you can pitch in! Sign up in the Narthex in the weeks leading up to our Family Promise hosting. You can also sign up online at https://signup.zone/uucc-fp or contact Jon Duvick, Family Promise Coordinator at UUCC.
Family Promise Volunteers:
Next Hosting Week:
Every year Urbandale UCC is an active participant in the Des Moines Area Hunger Hike, which has been raising money to alleviate hunger since 1969. The Hike occurs on the second Sunday in October every year. The funds UUCC raises are collected along with funds from other Des Moines area churches, synagogues, and agencies. The funds are then distributed both locally and internationally to support food needs.
To learn more about the Des Moines Area Hunger Hike, go here: http://dsmhungerhike.weebly.com
To get involved in this activity at Urbandale UCC, contact Sandy Gahn or Kathy Marean at 515-480-5587.
View Hunger Hike Recipients (2017)
▪ Central Iowa Shelter & Services (supplements meals and food for the homeless)
▪ EMBARC (The Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center – a grassroots refugee-led organization)
▪ New Horizon Adult Day Care Center (provides hot meals and snacks for low-income seniors)
▪ Church World Service (designated for areas impoverished by war and/or natural disasters around the world)
▪ Iowa Yucatan Partners of the Americas (meals for low-income pregnant women in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico).
▪ Seed Programs, International (ships seeds to more than 60 countries so hungry people may grow vegetables)
This annual celebration of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender identity is a perfect venue for us to proclaim our extravagant welcome as an Open and Affirming congregation and invite all into our fellowship.
We have helped refugee families as they settle in the Des Moines area. Most recently, we have assisted families from Afghanistan and Azerbaijan.
The Giving Tree
In summer, a tree will be in the narthex with gift ideas for individuals and projects in the community that provide relief and friendship. We offer the opportunity to exercise the Christmas spirit of giving in order to provide help to individuals and organizations at a time when donations slow.
Urbandale Food Pantry
The first image that comes to mind when you say “Urbandale” is not hunger. And yet just down the street from our church is Karen Acres, a school where 30 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch (200% or less of the federal poverty level). Concerned Urbandale citizens worked in a collaborative partnership with the City of Urbandale, the Urbandale Caring Corps (now UCAN), the Urbandale Ministerial Alliance, and the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) to start the Urbandale Food Pantry (now a separate 501(c)(3) non-profit). We regularly collect items for the Pantry, and we donate veggies to the Pantry during the growing season from an on-site garden.