Iowa Conference Advanced Specials

A Conference Advanced Special is a project located within the Iowa Annual Conference and is directly related to the Conference Board of Global Ministries. Projects to be considered must reflect the mission and ministry of the Iowa Annual Conference. Conference Board of Global Ministries priorities are working with children and youth, and influencing them through assistance to men, women and families; encouraging hands-on mission; and reaching the “least of these” in the Iowa Conference. New projects are considered in March and October. 

For more information or to apply for Iowa Conference Advanced Special status, please contact: 

Sue Hattel, Iowa Conference Mission Education Committee Chair
3070 Kane Ct., Dubuque, Iowa 52001
phone: 563-599-4497 or 563-556-1394


A.W.E. is a multi-faceted program whose mission is to empower African refugee women to make their way in a new culture while contributing to the well-being of their families and living a healthy lifestyle. A.W.E. teaches skills by providing physical, emotional and spiritual freedom from oppression; and increasing mental health and stability through counseling and therapy to lessen the effects of the unspeakable traumas they have endured.

The A.W.E. shop is a micro-business started in 2014 to help African women find employment and learn job skills like sewing, making fabric bags and aprons and jewelry. These women want to work but often find it hard to get employment due to transportation and child care issues along with limited English skills. The A.W.E. shop eliminates these obstacles and also provides a safe place for them to gather while they are adjusting to their new way of life.

We import our fabric and the beads we use for our jewelry and prayer beads are handmade in Africa. Using these materials allows the women to show pride in and share a bit of their culture with us. 

A.W.E. has a benevolence fund that we use to help Africans both here and abroad with unmet needs. Some of these needs have been funeral costs, utility bills, medical expenses, school costs for children in Africa, etc.

A.W.E. also supports and takes part in citizenship classes through the African Ministry of St. Mark’s UMC. Through 2019 we have helped almost 200 Africans to become citizens of The United States. We also have successful English classes several times a week. Assistance is also provided for government paperwork such as green card applications, citizenship applications, travel documents, reunification of families, etc. All of these services are provided at no cost.

For more information contact Helen Armstrong, Director of African Ministries at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Cedar Rapids at (319) 573-4170.  A.W.E. has a Facebook page under African Women Empowered. Website:


Bidwell Builds Hope!  Bidwell Riverside envisions a future where no one lives in poverty and everyone has the opportunity for a positive future.  Bidwell Riverside builds hope and opportunity by providing food, clothing, and child education to people in need.  It operates the largest food pantry in central Iowa, serving over 16,000 individuals.

The Child Development Center provides childcare and Universal Pre-Kindergarten to sixty-two 2-5 year olds five days a week. Children are served a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snack to contribute to healthy development.  Partnering with United Way of Central Iowa allows for onsite resources such as eye exams and hearing screening.

Volunteers are an important part of our mission from organizing clothes in the clothing pantry, to guiding clients in the food pantry, to helping with the Holiday Toy Pantry, to working in the yard or community garden.

Bidwell Riverside is a covenant partner with United Methodist Women and has been engaged in ministry since 1893.

Address: 1203 Hartford Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315

Phone:  515-244-6251

Missy Reams, Volunteer & Community Outreach Manager

Tim Shanahan, Executive Director 515-283-1911



Children and Family Urban Movement (CFUM) creates a community to support the potential of children, youth, and families through educational success, healthy living, and community engagement. Programs include the Breakfast Club (daily before school program for grades K-5); the Supper Club (a community meal served five nights a week for children and adults); The Haven (daily after school program for grades K-5); Awesome Days (ten weeks of all-day programming during school breaks in the fall, spring, and summer); community events including an annual Back-to-School Health Fair, semi-annual neighborhood talent shows, Thanksgiving eve dinner.


Phone: (515) 282-3242


Donations support flood responses and disaster recovery efforts in Iowa

Contact persons and disaster resource listings  are available under Conference Ministries - Disaster Ministries. Email questions to


Eye of the Needle helps people in poverty by providing necessities, such as clothing of all sizes (0- 5X), shoes, school supplies, school uniforms, blankets, dishes, pots and pans, etc. People may receive assistance with specific needed necessities if possible.

Address: 2205-2209 Falls Avenue, PO Box 1972, Waterloo, IA 50704

Contact person: Patricia King - Please make an appointment before visiting

Telephone: 319-215-6151


Free Clinics of Iowa (FCI) is a network of charitable clinics providing compassionate primary care to Iowans who are uninsured or underinsured.  Founded in the belief that all Iowans deserve quality healthcare services, FCI facilitates the initiation, operation and collaboration of free clinics throughout the State.  FCI is a donor-supported, not-for-profit organization, consisting of an Administrative Office and 31 member free clinics.  In rural and urban settings, FCI member clinics provide basic health care services through volunteer physicians, nurses and other health professionals, at no cost to patients.  Services may include but are not limited to: illness and minor injury care, wellness and preventative care, immunizations, physicals for school/work/sports and referrals to other community providers.  Free clinics are generally located within community centers and churches and typically operate 2-3 hours per week.  Current membership provides services in the following communities: Boone, Carroll, Cedar Rapids, Clarinda, Clinton, Clive, Corydon, Decorah, Des Moines, Estherville, Greenfield, Grinnell, Indianola, Iowa City, Knoxville, Lamoni, Norwalk, Oskaloosa, Ottumwa, Pella, Polk City, Spencer, Spirit Lake, Waterloo, Waukee and West Des Moines.  Last year, over 7,500 patient visits were provided through 2,000+ volunteer providers and staff.

Wendy Gray, MS, Executive Director

PO Box 12099

Des Moines, Iowa  50312

Phone 515.954.7508 : Fax 515.954.7501



The mission of Hawthorn Hill is to establish and operate housing programs for homeless families with children that help them obtain permanent housing and to provide services to help families achieve economic self-sufficiency. Hawthorn Hill operates two programs for families experiencing homelessness: New Directions Shelter (an emergency shelter for families with children) and The Home Connection (long-term supportive housing for families with children). Hawthorn Hill annually provides emergency shelter and housing for over 150 homeless families. 

Volunteers can provide healthy, child-friendly meals for families staying at New Directions, as well as help with cleaning and painting when new families move in to the Home Connection.  Volunteers are also needed to provide children’s activities in the shelter.

Address: 3001 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312  

Missy Reams, Volunteer and Community Outreach Manager

Phone: 515-243-7456

Tim Shanahan, Executive Director 515-283-1911



Hillcrest Family Services Mission Statement states “Meeting people as they are today: guiding them to where they want and need to be tomorrow.” This along with the organizations vision of “Becoming a national model for brain health services, advocating, educating, and connecting community resources, while delivering data driven results,” will provide Hillcrest the opportunity to reach as many people in need as possible.

Hillcrest works collaboratively with local communities to provide a broad range of quality and innovative services, including adolescent residential treatment, adult residential care facility and group homes for those with chronic mental illness, tobacco use prevention, mentoring, emergency youth shelter, family centered services, family/individual outpatient counseling, professional health clinic, community mental health centers, Hillcrest Supported Living, in-home supervision, Intensive Psychiatric Rehabilitation, mental health programming for the homeless, unplanned pregnancy counseling, vocational training, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), and adoption/options counseling. 

Hillcrest has permanent locations in the following communities in Iowa; Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Dubuque, Iowa City, Maquoketa, Mount Pleasant, Wapello, Washington as well in Platteville, Wisconsin. Hillcrest has been formally linked to the Methodist Church since 1914, the Presbyterian Church USA since 1968, and the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church since 2011.


JFON is now Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice and is a non-profit organization that provides free or low-cost high quality legal services to low-income immigrants.

Office location: 2024 Forest Ave. Suite 101, Des Moines, IA 50311


Epworth’s Kidz Haven mission in collaboration with Harding Middle School staff discreetly helps the students of economically challenged families by providing clothing and personal self-care items through a Comfort Closet.

 During the summer we also sponsor students to attend summer music camps and have helped subsidize financial expenses for Harding Middle School’s summer program which is designed to engage kids in many activities other than watching television and playing with electronic devices/games.

Harding Middle School is in the lowest performing ten percent of America’s middle schools.Kidz Haven mission believes that our contributions can strengthen school reform efforts, boost academic achievement, and increase student engagement in our neighborhood middle school which is facing some of the toughest educational challenges in our country.

Kidz Haven was founded in January 2011 with a mission that is in constant change as Harding Middle School and our world situation changes.


Epworth United Methodist Church Phone Number: (515) 243-3817

Contact: Lori Morgan


Linn County Correctional Chaplaincy Ministry (dba Fresh Start Jail Ministry) provides services to the “least of these” in the Linn County Jail, along with a unique ministry to the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center serving those ages 12-18 years of age. Our theme is “Lighting a Candle of Hope and Spiritual Freedom” for those who find themselves in some way involved with the correctional system. We have two part-time Chaplains with special gifts for the corrections ministry, and a Volunteer Coordinator working with over 100 volunteers. We minister to the inmates, family members and corrections staff. Weekly worship services in an ecumenical setting, Bible studies, opportunity for personal conferences with both the inmates and the juveniles detained, are provided. Our ministry also includes programs for Prayer Partners, the RISE Program that assists recently released individuals with basic human needs and job search, the Adult Mentoring Program that provides long term direction and support, and GED preparation support and direction. We are in need of prayer support for everyone in our Ministry and the people we serve, in addition to continual financial and volunteer support. Our website can provide additional information about our important Mission.


Matthew 25 empowers people to transform core urban neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids. We build strong neighborhoods by focusing on fresh, healthy food; affordable, sustainable housing and education. Projects include the state's first urban farm, school gardens, youth job training, a tool library, Groundswell "pay-it-forward" Cafe and a variety of housing programs. Transform, our annual volunteer housing rehabilitation blitz, brings more than three hundred volunteers together the final full week of June. 

Contact Info:

Matthew 25
201 3rd Ave SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404


Mobile United Methodist Missionaries MUMM is a ministry of the Iowa Conference serving Golden Valley, Aldersgate and Riverview Park Districts of the United Methodist Church, making disciples in rural Iowa. MUMM does this by:
  • Leading VBS in community buildings, city halls, trailer parks and struggling rural UM churches.
  • Launching after-school programs in rural communities/churches.
  • Recruiting volunteers from local communities to help with programming.
  • Sending at-risk kids to JOY (Jesus, Others & You) Camp on scholarships.
  • Serving needs in communities year round and especially during the holiday season to share God’s love with all God’s people.
  • Connecting work projects with volunteer teams ready to help.



The Center began over 40 years ago as a cooperative effort between leaders of the Native American community and local United Methodist. The Center/ Preschool is open from September - May at Grace United Methodist Church, 1735 Morningside Ave. in Sioux City. The licensed center provides classes  for children  2 years, 3 years and 4 years of age and partners with the Preschool Initiative(PSI) of the Sioux City Schools.

Native American Child Care Center
Grace United Methodist Church
1735 Morningside Ave.
Sioux City, IA  51106
Phone: 712-276-4930


Neighbor Helping Neighbor is a ministry in the Iowa Conference which helps persons with utilities, appliances  etc.  Pastors are to contact Janice Bolger at 641-436-1801 for assistance.


Rick’s serves children ages 3-18 and families in the Quad City and nearby counties.   We serve those with grief loss or trauma issues. Death of a loved one and divorce are common; however any sort of traumatic event or family change would fit the criteria such as: bullying, teen dating victimization/harassment crime victims and other needs.   It is a program of the Vera French Community Mental Health Center. Additional information available at  563-383-1900 in Davenport, Iowa.


Self-Help International is an independent, non-governmental 501(c)(3) dedicated to preventing hunger in  rural communities in Ghana, West Africa and Nicaragua, Central America. It operates on the principle that people everywhere have talents and resources they can use, with help, to improve their lives.  This approach was created with input from Methodists, and has been supported generously by Methodists over many years.  Self-Help offers assistance through agricultural extension, nutritional education, micro-credit, empowerment of women, development of small business, storage of farm products, and other related programs.  Since 1959,  this approach to development has proven highly successful.  On-going support is needed to expand these activities. 

Learn more at

Iowa Self-Help Office
Phone: 319-352-4040
Address: 207 20th Street, Waverly, IA 50677


The purpose of Shesler Hall is to assist homeless women with chronic mental illness to gain stability by providing holistic wellness and life skills to transition to permanent housing. Shesler Hall is a community living environment that enables these women to experience independence to their fullest potential while being in a supportive environment.

Executive Director - Kris Dam

712 258-8059



The International Outreach Ministry that began with the Wesley Foundation includes these ways of connecting with and supporting International Students at UNI:  weekly worship, conversation; Emergency Assistance Fund, Food Bank, Furniture Loan Program, English tutoring, Cultural Sharing, Safe Space meeting site.  A large percentage of the UNI International enrollment at UNI has connected to our outreach at some point during  their UNI enrollment. As needs and opportunities emerge, we respond to new initiatives regularly.

Contact Person:  Rev. Dave Glenn-Burns

Contact information:  
2422 College St.
Cedar Falls, IA 50613


Any undesignated monies donated to the Conference Advance Specials will be used where it is most needed.