Poverty, Peace and Justice


Mission: To help people resolve the conflicts that keep them apart, through advocacy, peace education, and immigrant rights.  Volunteers are needed to do small or more extended research projects throughout the semester and to help with occasional mailings.  This might also be a good site for an intern interested in working for a non-profit.

Contact: Kathleen McQuillen
Address:  4211 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA  50312
Phone:  515-274-4851 Ext. 22


Mission:  To provide safe, affordable housing which assist in the stabilization of low-income families and the revitalization of the Des Moines Metropolitan Neighborhoods.
Volunteers needed for home improvement.

Contact:  Russ Frazier, President
Address:  2024 Forest Avenue, Suite 101 Des Moines, IA 50311
Phone:  515-244-8308


Mission: This outreach of the United Methodist Church operates a clothing/household closet that provides for people in need and also provides day care and before/after school programs. Volunteers are needed to sort and organize items as they receive donations, and to put together packets for those in need. Volunteers are also needed to serve the public through the food pantry and thrift store.

Contact: Jody Werth
Address:  1203 Hartford Avenue, Des Moines, IA  50315
Phone:  515-244-6251


Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad. By changing policies, programs and conditions that allow hunger and poverty to persist, we provide help and opportunity far beyond the communities in which we live.

Contact: Tamela Walhof, Senior Regional Organizer
Phone: 312-871-9084  or 800-363-7239 (office), 612-237-4305 (cell)


Mission:  The human services branch of the Catholic Diocese of Des Moines, which covers the southwest portion of Iowa.

No Room at the Inn
A fundraiser for Catholc Charities
Contact: Trish Radke, Public Relations & Fundraising Event Coordinator
601 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone: 515-237-5078

Hispanic Community Outreach
Pat Nestvedt, Associate Director, (515) 237-5019
Mireya Ramirez, Hispanic Community Outreach Specialist, (515) 237-5047
Des Moines, IA 50309.

Phoenix House Domestic Violence Shelter
Contact email: rmabry@dmdiocese.org
Location:Council Bluffs, IA
Telephone: (712) 256-2059

St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter
Contact:  Pat Nestvedt
1535 11th Street, Des Moines, IA  50314
Telephone:  515-282-1235 or 515-237-5019

St. Mary Family Center
Contact:  Pat Nestvedt
1815 Hubbell Ave, Des Moines, IA  50316
Telephone: 515-237-5019
Nancy Galeazzi, Director (Simpson Alum)

Refugee Cooperative Ministry

Contact: Dan Dean
3116 University Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50311.
Telephone: (515) 271-7403
Website:  lsiowa.org


Mission:  Today over 185 Catholic Worker communities remain committed to nonviolence, voluntary poverty, prayer, and hospitality for the homeless, exiled, hungry, and forsaken. Catholic Workers continue to protest injustice, war, racism, and violence of all forms.
Contact:  Renee Esplane
Address:  1310 7th St P.O. Box 4551, Des Moines, IA  50306
Phone:  515-243-0765

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)

Mission:  This is a volunteer program designed to give assistance, direction, recommendations and monitor cases of child abuse under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. The information provided by the volunteers helps the judges make the decision affecting these children.

For Des Moines
Contact:  Kevin Schnoebelen
Address: The Lucas Building, 321 E. 12th Street, 4th floor, Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: 515-281-6335

For Warren County
Contact: Carrie Phelps
Phone: 866-451-3214


Mission:  The mission of Iowa CCI is to empower and unite grassroots people of all ethnic backgrounds to take control of their communities; involve them in identifying problems and needs and in taking action to address them; and be a vehicle for social, economic, and environmental justice.” CCI is about uniting and empowering people to create the positive changes they want and deserve. A staff of trained organizers provide resources and guidance to help our members organize to create these changes. Whether the problem is a negligent landlord, a bank that is redlining a certain area, or city officials who turn a deaf ear to citizens, CCI members know how to organize, take on the issues, and get results. In the words of abolitionist Frederick Douglass, “Without struggle there is no progress…Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.” CCI teaches people how to fight and how to win, how to make demands that get results and change communities.

Contact:  Lisa Whelan
Address:  2005 Forest Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50311
Phone:  515-255-0800


Mission:  To develop statewide and local public policies designed to address the housing and homeless crisis in Iowa; to an build effective statewide and local coalition to focus on housing needs; to educate the public policy makers on the housing needs of homeless and low income individuals; and to provide technical assistance to member agencies on fundraising, capacity building, public policy and public education.  Volunteers required in a variety of capacities to support the mission of the organization.
Contact:  Jim Cain, Executive Director
Address:  713 E Locust, Des Moines, IA 50309-1915
Phone:  515-288-5022


Description: Creative Visions seeks to empower high-risk youth and young adults by giving them alternatives to their current lifestyles and creating a safer environment through jobs, education and support services. Programs include peer counseling, job training/education/placement, parenting support, community dialogues, drop-in center, a children’s program held every Saturday from 2-5 p.m., and Sunday homeless meals programs.

Contact: Ako Abdul-Samad, Founder and CEO
Address:  1343 13th St., Des Moines, IA 50314
Phone:  515-244-4003   FAX 323-3310


Mission: This office has two sides; one providing services to families in crisis and another providing income maintenance services.  Volunteers are needed to do a little bit of everything around the office, from answering phones to record keeping. If a student can make a commitment to work on a regular basis, volunteers can shadow social workers, and after several months, they may be assigned their own caseload. This kind of work is often done for academic credit.

Address:  901 E. Iowa Ave., Indianola, IA 50125
Phone:  515-961-5353


Mission:  GSUM serves homeless, near homeless and low-income families.  Services include:  emergency, transitional and affordable housing; basic needs assistance (food, clothing, transportation, health referrals); crisis intervention; case management; Christian counseling; life skills education (parenting, nutrition, financial management); and tutoring, mentoring, recreational and developmental services for youth.  Volunteer opportunities include but not limited to:

      • Tutoring (Whiz Kids) – weekly commitment throughout school year
      • Mentoring (Hope for Youth) – weekly commitment throughout school year
      • Game Room/Activity Center volunteers – as available
      • Summer Camp (Counselors & Helpers)
      • Community Works (work crews) – as available
      • Other – as available

Contact: Activities Director
Address:  1353 9th Street, Des Moines, IA  50306
Phone:  515-283-0818


Mission: To create a decent habitat in which to live and work and an environment of hope and dignity and to provide a truly human existence for all people. The Warren County Habitat affiliate works with the Simpson College campus chapter and other county affiliates. The Simpson campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity frequently participates in building and remodeling projects in conjunction with the Warren County chapter of Habitat. In addition to Saturday work trips and fundraisers, the chapter travels to a new location each year to build one or more houses over the week of spring break. Habitat is a great way to get involved, have fun and meet new people! Volunteers are needed to help with home construction, fundraising, publicity, membership and family support.

Contact:  Simpson College Chapter through the RLC Service Chapter
Address:  P.O. Box 444, Indianola, IA 50125


Description: Hawthorn Hill’s mission is to establish and operate programs for the homeless families with children that help them obtain permanent housing and to provide services to help families achieve economic self-sufficiency.
Contact: Brittany or Alissa
Address:  3001 Grand Ave. Des Moines, IA
Phone: 515-283-7456


Mission:  A consortium of local churches and organizations that provide food and household items for the needy of Indianola.  Volunteers are needed to help unload donated household items, cleaning and distribution.

Contact: Peggy Kruse
Address: 109 E. Clinton Ave., Indianola, IA  50125
Phone:  515-961-3864


Description: The mission of this agency is to improve the quality of life for Hispanics/Latinos in the Des Moines area. Comprehensive family-based services are provided in Spanish and English. Along with a multitude of other programs, the agency is home to a childcare center for toddlers and preschoolers at which Simpson students may assist. In addition to childcare on weekdays, there is a particular need for volunteers to provide childcare on Monday nights from 6:30-9 p.m. Some level of proficiency in Spanish is helpful, but not required since most of the children speak English.
Contact: Gabriella Gallentine
Address:  828 SE Scott Ave., Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone:  515-282-6542

Hola Center

The Hola Center is a service hub on the east side of Des Moines that provides services in English and Spanish for people in the community.  Some of the services the center provides includes legal assistance, health care, banking, and family counseling.
Address: 618 E. 18th Street, Des Moines, IA 50316
Phone: 515-229-4652


Mission:  Home Recycling Association warehouses building supplies for low-income family home repair and improvement. Many of the materials are thus diverted from the landfills.

Contact: Karen Soliday
Address:  805 SE 14th Court, Des Moines, IA 50317
Phone: 515-282-9296


Mission:  Hope Ministries has been serving the homeless in Des Moines since 1915.  They provide food, clothing, shelter and long-term recovery support to homeless, near-homeless and hungry men, women and children.  For information on volunteering

Contact:  Kristin Fotia, community & volunteer improvement coordinator
Address: PO Box 862, Des Moines, IA 50304-0862
Phone: (515) 265-7272.


Description: House of Mercy is dedicated to providing for the unmet health, wellness and human services needs of those most at risk in our society. The agency provides a residential facility for homeless, chemically dependent, pregnant and/or parenting women who have a substance abuse problem and are in need of assistance with recovery, self-sufficiency, parenting and life skills. Childcare is provided at the John R. Grubb/House of Mercy Child Development Center. On average, 20-30 percent of the children residing at House of Mercy have been affected by drugs taken by their mothers during pregnancy and as a result have special needs. Students may assist with nurturing and caring for children residing at House of Mercy.

Contact: Lynn McCormick
Address:  1409 Clark St., Des Moines, IA 50314
Phone:  515-643-6500


Description: This agency provides transitional and independent living facilities for homeless adolescents and young families, a mobile outreach homeless and runaway youth street program, and a day shelter for homeless children. Students could interact with clients at shelter and participate in other programs including outreach to youth living on the street and Sunday homeless meal program at Creative Visions.

Address:  1219 Buchanan St., Des Moines, IA 50316
Phone:  (515) 232-4332 ext. 4451


The MUNA Legal Clinic was created in 1997 to provide legal assistance for low-income immigrant survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault. Since its creation, MUNA has assisted more than 1,000 immigrant survivors with immigration, family, and domestic abuse matters. MUNA additionally provides community outreach and organizing support to local immigrant communities. Recommended for volunteers who are bilingual or have an interest in social work and law. Volunteers can translate, contact clients, file documents, and draft motions and letters.

Contact:  Andrea Diez, Attorney
Address:  515 28th St., Des Moines, IA  50312
Phone: 515-244-2117 x413


Description: To offer workforce development services to persons who are new to the state of Iowa. The centers are designed to support workers, businesses, and communities with information, community service referrals, job placement, translations, language training, and resettlement assistance.  Volunteer opportunities include: working with job-seekers to search for jobs, create resumes and cover letters, and fill out applications; assist clients with Rosetta Stone English and Spanish-language learning computer program; and potential for developing classes and programs to teach to clients.
Contact:  Amber Ramirez, Coordinator, New Iowan Center Iowa Workforce Development
Address:  430 E Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309
Phone:  515-281-9606


Description: This agency provides numerous services to local residents, many of whom live in government subsidized housing.  Volunteer opportunities include tutoring or “Homework Buddies,” helping with activities during morning daycare, and one time events such as the “Fall Fest,” which is an alternative to trick or treating.  Also, ESL classes, Senior Bingo (3rd Thursday, 2-4 p.m.), and assisting in computer labs.

Contact:  Esther Morris, 244.7702 x136; Cell: 515-410-4170
Address:  1236 Oakridge Dr., Des Moines, IA 50314
Phone:  515-244-7702


Description: The church collects items for food pantry and thrift shops, holds citizenship classes on Sunday, provides visitation to housebound parishioners, helps people with immigration issues, etc.  A bilingual community.
Contact: Father Chris Reising, Pastor
Address:  1271 East 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50316
Phone:  515-266-6695, ext. 14


Mission:  We provide farm workers, immigrants and others with a variety of services that improve their health, education and economic opportunities.
Contact:  Daniel Hoffman-Zinnel, Regional Director
Address:  3850 Merle Hay Road Suite 500 Des Moines, IA 51310
Phone – 515-271-5303 or 1-800-372-6031


Mission: To create a safe, supportive, environment in which families discover their potential and have access to the resources needed to be successful and pursue their life gial. Their goal is to serve families who are at high risk of homelessness in the city of Des Moines in the areas of housing, basic needs assistance, family stabilization, life skills coaching, and family menoring.
Contact: Carolyn Kirschbaum
Address: 1353 9th St., Des Moines, IA  50314
Phone: 515-288-9841


Mission: To embrace and inspire young women to become strong, self-confident and successful.  The YWRC offers small groups and individual support for young women ages 10-21 focused on self-esteem, healthy relationships, & reproductive health. Teen moms receive additional support focused on parenting skills and understanding the importance of education.

Volunteers need for child care, gift drives for girls, after-school groups.

Contact:  Christina Jarck, Volunteer and Events Coordinator
Address:818 8th Avenue
Phone:  515-244-4901


Description:  WeLIFT provides Workplace Essentials (job retention training) and job search assistance. There is no cost for any WeLIFT classes.  Use of the resource center is open to anyone who has completed one of the WeLIFT class offerings.  Volunteers are needed to monitor the resource center.  Paid instructors for WeLIFT classes are also needed. Hours are: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9-3 and Thursday evenings 6-8

Contact: Roger Netsch, Program Director
Address:  106 E 2nd Ave., Indianola, IA  50125
Phone:  515-962-5017