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Give-Back Guidebook

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By Emily Hedgecock

Now more than ever, Americans are using the power of their time and money to shop ethically, donate to causes they care about, and volunteer in their community. In our highly connected world, a new fundraiser is made every day to raise support–from Facebook fundraising and community help to GoFundMe, we are on information overload. Where do we even start?

The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce has created a tool to help community members find their favorite nonprofit, right here in our city. The Give-Back Guidebook makes it easy to donate and volunteer–we have curated each organization’s mission and sorted them by category so that you don’t have to! 

Children and Youth

Can Play Sports

Located in the beautiful, brand-new MidAmerican Energy RecPlex, Can Play Sports offers four programs to make sports accessible to all. The Opportunity Program and Courage Program provided by Can Play have ways to volunteer with children living in low socioeconomic households or with chronic health issues. Can Play Sports’ tenth anniversary celebration is on June 20th, 2022. Check out their website to learn more about the event!

Wildwood Hills Ranch

A summer camp that has it all, Wildwood Hills Ranch provides their services at no cost to children and youth at-risk. Camp Wildwood is always looking for volunteers to teach gardening, cooking, welding, leadership, financial literacy courses, and much more. If you have a special skill and want to impact youth, Wildwood wants you

Wildwood Hills’s annual fundraising dinner is another great way to show support to youth in our community. This year’s event includes local food trucks and desserts, as well as a sneak peak into their beautiful facility!

Health and Medical Research

Iowa Healthiest State

Iowa Healthiest State is here to end the stigma surrounding mental health in your community. They work with offices, schools, organizations, and individuals to create programs that inspire Iowans to live a happy and healthy life. To support this mission, become a Make it OK ambassador and spread awareness about the importance of mental health! You can also donate here to Iowa Healthiest State’s Make it OK initiative.

The ALS Association

You have probably heard about the ALS Bucket Challenge before, but how much do you truly know about ALS? The Iowa Chapter of the ALS Association exists to provide education, resources, and research to support those living with ALS and their loved ones. To take part in their work, you can walk to defeat ALS on October 1st, 2022 right here in West Des Moines. Can’t make it to the walk? Participate in the ALS Bucket Challenge and make a donation to spread awareness and raise funds for a cure!

Food and Income Support

Justice League of Food

The age-old saying “teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime,” could not be better met than through the Justice League of Food. This is a nonprofit that understands the importance of breaking the poverty cycle through their paid culinary apprenticeship, where young adults are trained and equipped through food service training, financial literacy, and job search assistance. 

The Justice League of Food has so many ways to give back. The next time you need catering or an event space, choose the JLF Kitchen and Klassroom. If you’re looking to try a new restaurant, eat at the Hall and directly support the apprentices learning the art of cooking. Or maybe your business is hiring, and you can directly hire a graduate from JLF’s program, confident they will be an excellent employee. 

Young Women’s Resource Center

Every day, a girl or young woman’s life changes because of the work done at the Young Women’s Resource Center. Their mission is to empower their participants to be strong, self-confident, and resilient by providing a multitude of services, such as after-school, summer, counseling, and young mother’s programming. Volunteer by donating meals, serving in childcare, or picking up flexible tasks that need done at the center.

The annual YWRC Gala is coming soon on April 9th, 2022 where there will be a live auction, wine pull, and awards. This is a great way to show support to the young women in our community!

The West Des Moines Chamber of Commerce would like to thank you for being an active member in our community. Together, we can make a difference and make West Des Moines the best city to live, work, and play! For more information on these great organizations and many others, visit our Give Back page today.