Most bustling cities are known for their large attractions and glamorous life. When you hear “New York City”, you think of the Statue of Liberty. When you Chicago, you think of Millenium Park and taking a trip to Wrigley Field. But what about Des Moines? Central Iowa is overflowing with non-profits that deserve more attention.
More time should be given to explore the organizations that make up the community and the area instead of the attractions found in a Google search. Do you want to get a taste of the real Des Moines? Here are five non-profit organizations to pay a visit or a few hours (or a check?).
5. LifeServe Blood Center
Ranked as one of the 15 largest blood banks in the country, LifeServe is a critical organization that benefits the citizens of Des Moines and surrounding areas. It is the sole provider of blood and blood products to over 100 hospitals across Iowa and neighboring states.
The non-profit was created under its current name in 2010, but has been serving Iowa for decades. The volunteers work hard every day to ensure blood donations can reach patients in time to save lives!
As with all good things, there is a catch. The organization can only function with the help from community members. What is a blood bank without blood?
LifeServe makes their blood inventory readily available on their website so anyone can discover the necessity of blood. Feeling generous or particularly blood-filled? Visit their website and set up a time to donate and help your community!
4. Animal Rescue League of Iowa, Inc
This non-profit is not only a shelter for homeless pets, it also has a mobile rescue team that saves animals on a daily basis!
The organization has been around since 1926, saving and rehabilitating millions of pets in the area. The animals are rescued, cared for, and eventually adopted into better and happier lives.
This staple of the community believes that all animals are special and in need of deep love and connection. Through adoption, fostering, and volunteer work, they find a way to take care of as many animals as possible.
There are so many ways to help out! From fostering pets, to purchasing food and supplies, to finding your special pet and adopting, there is no reason not to do your part!
3. Ronald McDonald House
Everyone knows the Ronald McDonald House, and if you don’t, where have you been?
The organization has been “helping families feel at home-even when they can’t be” since 1974. Their mission is to support parents and children in need of help with their health and well-being.
Originally created to keep parents close to sick children in hospitals, the Ronald McDonald House has supported millions of families through housing, finances, meals, and more.
Whether you live in Des Moines or are just passing through, there is a Ronald McDonald House just about anywhere you go that needs your help!
2. Everybody Wins! Iowa
Everybody Wins is an organization that supports children in their education, as well as provides the opportunity for them to find mentors and supporters in their community.
Their mission statement is “to increase children’s success in school and life through one-to-one reading and mentoring experiences with caring volunteers”.
If you love reading and want to make a difference in a child’s life, there is no better way to do so than to donate or volunteer your services to become a mentor!
1. Whiterock Conservancy
Located about an hour west of Des Moines, Whiterock is one of Iowa’s best kept secrets! The 5,500 acre land trust has been demonstrating sustainable agriculture, natural resource protection, and safe recreation since the land was donated in 2004.
The organization states that their mission is to provide educational and recreational opportunities for visitors. On a recent visit to Whiterock, Discover Magazine editor Stephen George shared his enjoyment of the land and experiences.
“I enjoyed the goats,” George said. “And the trails were awfully nice.”
While there are so many ways to support this sustainable organization, the easiest is just to visit and share your thoughts! Public support will take this organization to the next level and allow them to expand their outreach and message.
Well there you have it, five different and wonderful non-profit organizations for you to fill your time with. So what are you waiting for? Visit their sites, read their messages, and get out there!