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CROSS Ministries Des Moines
Thankful for God's goodness and following Christ's calling to help one another, saying, "when you have done it unto one of the least of these, you have done it unto me," Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church, with financial support from the Des Moines Presbytery, provides a ministry to meet the emergency survival needs of low and no income people throughout Polk County.
- To provide financial assistance, food, and other basics to people in need.
- To advocate for changing social, economic and political systems which perpetuate poverty and oppression.
- To create a vision of justice and provide educational opportunities to churches, organizations, and the community concerning the plight of the poor.
2013 at a glance:
- Assisted 406 households representing 884 people with rent, rent deposits, mortgage, or utility bills to prevent homelessness.
- Provided 566 households representing 1,393 people with personal hygiene items, laundry vouchers, bus tokens, cleaning supplies, baby items, or storage costs for households in transition.
- In partnership with the Des Moines Area Religious Council gave food boxes 1,934 times feeding 8,564 hungry bodies (some duplicated).
- Served 1,300 school children from low income families with a new backpack filled with grade appropriate school supplies at the CROSS Annual Back-to-School Giveaway.
- Advocated to improve the quality of life for all Iowans facing issues of poverty.
- Offered informational lectures, sermons, and workshops on poverty.
Still, the need is growing. The most recent Iowa Statewide Homeless Study reported that 24,000 people were homeless in Iowa, with more than 6,000 in Polk County. That figure does NOT include people who were “doubled up” or “couch surfing” essentially homeless but staying with friends or relatives. With a need this great, it is not unusual for families to line up outside CROSS Ministries' doors several hours before the scheduled opening as they desperately seek help with basic survival needs.
Dr. Roberta Victor’s work involves providing direct services to homeless and near homeless clients, writing grants, fundraising, educating the public on the needs of special populations, and on advocating for those needs. She is a member of the Polk County Housing Continuum which facilitates collaborations among social service agencies to provide a coordinated plan that addresses the economic and social challenges that produce homelessness and affordable housing.
Dr. Victor is a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist who offers creative presentations on CROSS Ministries and homelessness and on working cross-culturally with Sudanese and other refugee populations. She is available for presentations for workshops, civic and religious groups, and has been approved for pulpit supply through the Presbytery of Des Moines.