Assistance programs from Des Moines and Polk County churches.

Des Moines residents can get emergency assistance and family services from one of many churches in the community, but the services available from each one vary greatly and can change over time. Thousands of families from Polk County receive help from one or more of these agencies. Resources range from basic needs such as food and shelter to counseling.

The primary service offered by many local churches is an emergency food box for the needy and low income. While the contents will vary based on donations, in general it will contain a 4 day supply of non-perishable food items. The amount of aid is limited to one box per month. Some other goods such as bread or some fresh fruits or food may be offered as well, as resources allow. But each and every Des Moines Iowa parish will have their own form of aid offered.

There are other programs offered by a church. They tend to be more common but there are never any guarantees to one having this form of help. This includes a free clothing closet that is available to anyone in need of help, regardless of their address. All clothing donated to the center is donated from the general public. So available sizes of clothes vary from week to week. Last, but not least, diapers and infant formula are offered to families and new moms. Receive free or low cost diapers and baby formula, and this is only limited to the city and also availability.

Churches in Polk County due their best to meet demand, but not everyone can be assisted. The reason being is this is an area with a high poverty and unemployment rate.

Housing type resources:  Some locations have a Family Shelter. There are sites for individuals veterans, and others including families with minor children in their care. If you are in need of shelter please call 211 for more information.

Some of what is offered by a Des Moines Iowa church housing programs includes meals, free infant supplies and personal hygiene items. A thrift store may have donated furniture & household items available for guests moving into permanent housing or new apartments. A Family Advocate from a church is also on staff to assist clients in returning to self-sufficiency. This can include helping them apply for rent and security deposit assistance. Also get referrals to non-profit community resources and assistance.





The Hispanic Community Outreach Program is for newcomers to Iowa. It is their goal to facilitate the full participation of Hispanic/Latino and new immigrants families in their communities. Clients can receive advocacy, support of community-based initiatives, and direct service.

Polk County Iowa churches also have seasonal services, in particular Christmas meals, gifts, and Thanksgiving help. Some offer kids easter baskets too. These programs are run by volunteers. Generally anyone in need can get assistance around the holidays, provided they register and resources are available.

For more information about other programs offered at churches in the Polk County Iowa as well as Des Monies region, dial 211 for referrals. Each parish has their own type of aid. Most focus only on people in their immediate community; so this are not county-wide resources.


By Jon McNamara

“Related and Sponsored Links” are listed below.




Contact Us

About Us


Privacy policy

Financial Literacy