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Emergency assistance from Des Moines and Polk County Salvation Army.

The Salvation Army in Des Moines can help families that are facing an emergency due to a job loss, medical emergency, or unexpected crisis. They can coordinate emergency, short term financial assistance for rent, groceries, and utility bills along with longer term self-sufficiency services and advice. They also offer free stuff in Polk County, including food, school supplies, meals, and also Christmas toys during the holiday. Salvation Army case management and social services in the Des Moines Iowa region are wide ranging and provide support to thousands of local individuals per year.

Salvation Army financial help for paying bills as well as housing needs

Some of the aid available includes financial and/or material assistance. Examples of this include the following. There is also information on a wide range of programs that can help with paying rent in the city as well as nationwide.

  • Housing and homeless prevention includes rent, mortgage, and security deposit assistance. So if you are faced with eviction, or need funds to move into a Polk County home or apartment, the Salvation Army can be able to help with this.
  • Utility and heating bill assistance is for people who are faced with a shut-off. Or get information and help on applying for LIHEAP or weatherization.
  • Food, including groceries, canned goods, and meals.
  • Clothing for work or school, including uniforms. School supplies, such as notebooks or backpacks, may be offered.
  • Senior programs, including elderly assistance.

Free items from Salvation Army in Polk County

Many counties in Iowa are supported by the Salvation Army Material Assistance and Seasonal Services Program. Qualified low income families, with a focus on those who are most at risk, can qualify for food assistance, clothing, prescription medication assistance, back to school and Christmas and holiday assistance.




A focus is on energy bills as well, as hundreds of local families are faced with a disconnection every year. So learn about, and get help apply for emergency assistance for utilities. A summer fan program/air conditioner program also operates during extreme heat. Most of these Seasonal Services relies on donations from people in Polk County, so if you can contribute to the Salvation Army please do so.

An infant center operates in the county. It provides various services and assistance to families with young children, babies, or infants. Programs will offer emergency supply of infant formula and food. Supplies include disposable diapers, car seats, booster seats, breast pump, and even items such as Play & Pack play yards.

Free meals and food is offered to the homeless and very poor. Most Tuesday and Friday mornings the Salvation Army's uses their emergency disaster services mobile canteen to help these individuals. The unit is dispatched and it follows a route of the inner city of Des Moines offering a hot breakfast to the homeless and also poor/near homeless.

Every morning almost 1,000 men, women and children are fed. The hot breakfast and meals distributed include cold cereal, a hot quiche-like egg casserole, juice and coffee, pastries, fruit, and milk. Many volunteers, individuals, local businesses and groups contribute to the food and meal distribution program. There is also a grocery service in the region, and the Salvation Army can refer clients to the Des Moines food pantries.

Referrals and case management

The Des Moines Salvation Army Family Services program also partners with local charities and non-profit agencies. Some of the agencies they work with include Broadlawns Medical Center, Iowa Department of Human Services, Neighborhood Health Initiatives, Visiting Nurse Services, Iowa Methodist Hospital, as well as Polk County Community Family and Youth Services. Together all of these groups and others will ensure people have access to health care, medical needs, food, emergency assistance, and much more.

The free items as well as financial help is combined with ongoing support. This may be job programs for Polk County Iowa families and the Salvation Army offers substance abuse services too. The goal is short term support with long term self-sufficiency. Salvation Army case workers partner with every client on their needs. Even learn about such things as federal government workforce investment job placement.







Polk County Iowa Salvation Army centers

All programs and support comes with eligibility requirements, and the conditions will vary with service requested. Please call your local center for more information and exact terms. In general, proof of ID is required. This can include social security card, birth certificate, or a picture ID for everyone in household. Most programs will also require proof of address within the last 30 days is required. Most financial and material assistance programs also require income guidelines to be met.

The locations through Des Moines as well as the county are below. Each has limited resources, but they may have low cost Family Stores, financial aid for rent or bills, school supplies, shelter, and much more.

Salvation Army Family Services, 1326-30 Sixth Avenue, Des Moines (MAP), call 515-282-3422.
Thrift Stores are located in Polk County. They are located at the following.
Des Moines Downtown, 133 E. 2nd Street, call 515-243-4277
Southeast Side, 6101 SE 14th Street, Des Moines Iowa, phone 515-285-3542
Des Moines Northside, 105 E. Euclid Avenue, main number 515-243-0308
Ankeny, 801 S. Ankeny Boulevard, 515-965-3184

By Jon McNamara

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