Linn County Iowa church assistance programs.

Clients of the various churches in Linn County can learn about and get referrals to everything from public benefits such as TANF or food stamps to charities in Linn County Iowa that may offer emergency financial help. The religious organizations help people of all races, backgrounds, and religions, and they are involved in helping less fortunate families, including the disabled, seniors, and households with children.

Using a combination of outreach, job placement, and case management/referrals they try to help the resident make it through a crisis. Depending on the church and the resources available, they may offer both short as well as long term support. Combined with this is referral to long term case management services, ranging from credit counseling to job skills training. Much of this is met by partners of churches in Linn County Iowa..

Locate food, basic needs, and holiday support

Clients can turn to a local church for assistance in developing and achieving individualized housing and income goals. The agency provides case management services to help guide people on their path to self-sufficiency. The steps are as follows.

  • Case managers first form a plan that addresses the roots causes of each client’s homelessness or why they can't afford to pay their bills or feed their family.
  • Advice is given to individuals and families who need the support of a local church, and staff work to prevent a future crisis.
  • The ongoing process from churches in the area will then monitor and support each client’s progress in following through on that plan.




The local churches also coordinate many resources for this process. Available case management assistance includes budgeting and monitoring of expenses; support for educational, vocational and employment programs; referrals and advocacy for government programs and other social services and ongoing follow-up services.

Food that is distributed by a local church has been generously donated to the pantry by individuals, local businesses, super markets, area churches and other community organizations. Local grocery stores from across all of Linn County also donate produce, meat, and baked goods on a daily basis which are picked up by the staff.





In general, the various churches in the community help hundreds of needy residents of the region. Any interested parties should bring the following information to the Pantry Shelf for registration.
-The staff need proof of residence in the form of a recent utility bill addressed to the head of the household.
-Proof of all household income.
-Information on any benefits being received, such as disability or SNAP food stamps.

For children living in low-income households in Linn County, the center is also focused on youth. Programs work to build their self- esteem in order for them to become thriving members of the community. Some examples of financial aid and direct services rendered include the following:

  • Holiday Activities, including Christmas toys and free Easter Baskets.
  • YMCA Summer Day Camp Scholarships.
  • Southeast Linn Community Center has free Back to School supplies for the new school year.
  • The Christmas Gifting as well as Adopt a Family Program.

For people with a new job, or important interview, the regional church may be able to help with transportation needs. The assistance may also be for people who don’t have a reliable way to get to work before their first paycheck. This may be in the form of a volunteer driver or other options. There also may be free (or low cost) bus pass until the person will get their first paycheck.

There are volunteer opportunities for women as well as men residing in Linn County to volunteer at churches within their Cedar Rapids area. These opportunities may include the following. People can operate fundraising activities, host holiday parties for center clients, organize the Christmas toy programs, assist in the application process for benefits, and even deliver meals to shut-ins.

Warm winter coats can be offered to children and senior citizens. There may be other attire as well to help families in Linn County keep warm during the colder fall, winter, and spring months. Families will need to apply in order to be assisted.

In almost all cases, what is passed out is gently used but it will be clean and sorted by church groups volunteers. There may be gently used coats, jackets and outwear such as boots. Other clothing items may be Hats, Mittens and Gloves, Caps, Scarves, or Wraps. The goal is to provide multiple sizes, ranging from children to adults.

Senior programs from Southeast Linn Community Center

The Linn County Iowa church Senior Nutrition Service provides Linn County residents with low cost or even free nutritious meals. There are even offerings for residents with diabetes, heart disease, and/or hypertension.




The program will help clients meet at least one-third of the recommended dietary allowances for older adults. All of the food and groceries will also comply with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition, the Center offers kosher, Mexican, Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese meals at certain meal sites, as well as relevant programming targeted to these ethnic groups.

There are other services for senior citizens and the low income in the area. Many churches help people of all races, religions, and backgrounds. Dial 211 for information..

By Jon McNamara

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