Meet Our New AmeriCorps VISTA!

Janet Iraq

Janet Eckles is a talented and compassionate young woman with a delightful personality. We look forward to our next year with her as she brings her training in videography to CROSS. We consider her a blessing to our agency!

Please take a moment to read her letter of introduction and a bit about our plans for her upcoming year of service.

Dear friends,

Hello, my name is Janet Eckles. I am the new AmeriCorps VISTA member serving with CROSS Ministries. I recently graduated from Drake University here in Des Moines with a degree in video journalism. After graduating in May, I spent my summer in Northern Iraq editing videos for the non-profit Preemptive Love Coalition. I plan to utilize those experiences and skills in video production to create video marketing content for CROSS. The videos I produce will help accomplish my VISTA goals of increasing community engagement with the organization and expanding our donor base.

Feel free to stop by and say hello! I can’t wait to meet you!

In peace,
Janet Eckles

2015 Back-to-School Giveaway a Success!

BTS 2015 little girl

We at CROSS are advocates for education. We believe that education is a way out of poverty, and that we have a responsibility to help make students in our community better equipped to start each school year. That is why we started our annual Back to School Giveaway.

Our Giveaway takes place every August, before the school

year starts. During the event we provide K-12 students in the community with brand new backpacks filled with grade appropriate school supplies.

BTS 2015 backpacks

August 6th marked our 23rd giveaway. In five hours, we gave away 1,500 backpacks to students in our community! We couldn’t have done this without our donors and volunteers, who donated funds and supplies, sorted the supplies, packed the backpacks, and helped staff the event. We are so grateful for the continual support we receive for this event!

Special thanks to the Des Moines Police volunteers for providing pencils, stickers, and safety. We look forward to serving more children next year!

2014 at a Glance

Here’s what you helped us achieve in 2014!
  • Assisted 387 households (representing 900 people) with rent, rent deposits, mortgage, or utility bills to prevent homelessness
  • Provided 617 households (representing 1,500 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 1,940 times feeding 7,347 people. Bread and fresh produce were provided to approximately 6,000 people
  • Served over 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 to educate the community about these issues

Still, the need is growing. Due to our financial limitations, we are not able to help all who come to us. Despite those limitations, CROSS provided an increase of 37% more acts of service than in 2013! With your help we can continue to make a difference in the lives of others in 2015!