Iowa Conference United Women in Faith awards four major grants

Iowa Conference United Women in Faith awards four major grants

May 10, 2022

Written by Nancy Stockade, Iowa Conference United Women in Faith

Iowa Conference United Women in Faith has awarded $200,000 in major grants —  $50,000 each to Bidwell Riverside Center and Hawthorn Hill in Des Moines, Shesler Hall in Sioux City and Iowa United Methodist Church Camp and Retreat Ministries.

The grants are made possible by major funds from the estate of Barbara Csomay (SO-may) that were designated to Iowa Conference United Methodist Women (now United Women in Faith). Csomay, a longtime UMW member from Kanawha and a retired music teacher and band director, died in 2015.

The grant recipients were chosen because of their alignment with United Women in Faith’s longstanding priority of being in mission to women, children and youth.

Bidwell Riverside Center has a food pantry that serves more than 16,700 individuals each year. It is busiest food pantry in Iowa, having provided 693,333 food items in 2020. It also provides donated clothing, household items, toiletries, diapers and baby food. Bidwell Riverside also has a Child Development Center that serves 74 students each year, many from low-income families. 

Hawthorn Hill’s New Directions Shelter provides free, temporary, emergency shelter for homeless families with children. The Home Connection provides permanent supportive housing for families with children with an emphasis on helping them achieve financial independence.

Shesler Hall assists homeless women with chronic mental illness to gain stability by providing holistic wellness and life skills to transition to permanent housing.

Iowa United Methodist Church Camp and Retreat Ministries runs two camps, Lake Okoboji United Methodist Camp & Retreat Center in Spirit Lake and Wesley Woods Camp and Retreat Center near Indianola. Its new Kindling Program development effort helps cover the operational expenses of the camps. The camps’ mission is to provide growth experiences to develop Christian leaders for the transformation of the world. 

For more information, contact UW/Faith conference president Gladys Alvarez at, or committee members Helen Pollock, Nancy Stockdale, Mary Taeger or Marcia Young.