Food Pantry Opens on First, Third Evenings of Month

Responding to the needs of the community, the St. Vincent de Paul food pantry will be open on the first and third Tuesdays of the month, Social Services Director Fern Klemm announced today.

“The food pantry helps so many people each week, but we found that many others just aren’t able to get here during the daytime because they are working,” she said. “That’s when we recognized the need to open the food pantry from 5:00 p.m.to 8:00 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.”

Klemm said response was strong on April 2, the first evening that the pantry was open.

“The food pantry is open to anyone who needs the help. We certainly expect to see more people as word spreads about the new hours,” she said.

The food pantry is located at 1426 Second Ave.


Community Housing Initiatives, Inc. Hosts Second Annual NeighborWorks Week

NeighborWorks WeekDES MOINES, IA — June 13, 2011 — Community Housing Initiatives, Inc., (CHI) hosted its second annual NeighborWorks Week event on June 10 as an opportunity to create clean, safe neighborhoods and to celebrate the local community. Following this year’s theme, “Working for Strong Communities,” more than 40 volunteers helped beautify St. Vincent de Paul, a local nonprofit located along 6th Avenue on Des Moines’ north side. Volunteers from CHI, Mercy Medical Center, The 6th Avenue Corridor and St. Vincent de Paul participated in the all-day event that included landscaping, barb wire fence removal and replacing a retaining wall on the property.

“Thanks to the efforts of the many volunteers, NeighborWorks Week was a great success,” said Doug LaBounty, president of CHI. “St. Vincent de Paul is a vital part of The 6th Avenue Corridor, and we are glad to assist with the completion of several beautification projects.”

CHI’s participation in NeighborWorks Week was just one of more than 200 events that were held across the country from June 4 to 11 during NeighborWorks America’s 28th annual celebration. The week-long event is held the first week of June each year and is an opportunity for thousands of volunteers to help make their communities healthy, sustainable places to live, work and play.

The beautification project was CHI’s second annual NeighborWorks Week event. In 2010, more than 50 volunteers helped clean up Time Check Park, an area in Cedar Rapids that was devastated by floodwaters in 2008.

“NeighborWorks Week is an outstanding opportunity for volunteers to work together to clean up our local communities,” LaBounty said. “Everyone who was involved should feel proud of what was accomplished. It is just a small success of the many positive things happening along 6th Avenue.”

“NeighborWorks Week is an outstanding opportunity for volunteers to work together to clean up our local communities,” LaBounty said. “Everyone who was involved should feel proud of what was accomplished. It is just a small success of the many positive things happening along 6th Avenue.”

Community Housing Initiatives, Inc. (CHI) was created in 1993 by a Northwest Iowa Community Action Agency, Upper Des Moines Opportunity. Over the past decade, CHI has established itself as one of the most successful developers and managers of affordable housing in Iowa. CHI has constructed or rehabilitated more than 1,000 affordable housing units and currently has 70 additional units under construction. Visit www.chihousing.com to learn more about CHI’s efforts to provide high-quality affordable housing options across the state of Iowa.

NeighborWorks America creates opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated $20 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals. Visit www.nw.org for more information.


What a difference a year makes…

St. Vincent de Paul StoreOn December 26, 2009, in Des Moines, IA, a winter snow storm put the roof of St. Vincent de Paul’s retail store to the test and won. The snow load caved in the roof, creating a devastating blow to staff, volunteers and most importantly those that depend on St. Vincent de Paul for support and fulfillment of their needs. The community was in shock. Carmen Winters a social worker with Mid-Iowa Family Therapy Clinics, shops regularly for her clients. “It’s a lot more than clothes…they have great resources.” More importantly, though, Carmen observes, “St. Vincent de Paul serves the entire community with a giving spirit, and they are culturally sensitive to the needs of the community.”

The Board of Directors met with insurance agents, contractors and community members to sort out and vision the possibilities for St. Vincent de Paul’s future.

A capital campaign was initiated to get the word out about the funding needs of not just reconstruction but re-visioning. The St. Vincent de Paul board relied on community input, surveys and their mission to make the decision to incorporate an Education Center in the new building structure. “If you’re digitally ‘illiterate,’ I cannot imagine how you’d cope with employment issues.” says Janet Witte. She has been there and knows the value of web based opportunities.

Helping others help themselves; this sign hangs over the entry way to the St. Vincent de Paul Store and is the mantra of our service and expectations.