Community Services and Food Bank

At Monroe Elementary School, one of our goals is to be a center for resources in our community to support our students and their families.


Sign up for the CNXT application to keep up to date with Monroe Elementary School events and resources:

Absences / Tardies

Parents can call 515-242-8425 or send a text/email to if their child is sick or has another attendance issue. When notifying of an attendance issue, please include your student’s name, your name, and why they are absent/going to be tardy.

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Bilingual Family Liaisons

515-242-8472 (including Spanish, Burmese, Arabic, Swahili and other languages)

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Financial Assistance

Polk County Government | 2309 Euclid Avenue | 515-286-2088

  • Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:30pm
  • Please complete the Polk County General Assistance Application before reaching out to other agencies. You will receive a “Notice of Decision.” If denied, other agencies may require this document before assisting you.

Cross Ministries (located in Cottage Grove Church) | 1050 24th Street | 515-279-9998

  • Emergency Assistance; rent, deposit, or mortgage; electric/gas, water; personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies, laundry vouchers, and bus tokens

IMPACT Community Action Partnership | 3226 University Avenue | 515-518-4770

  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP): provides a single payment towards winter heating bills to eligible households. Approval for the program establishes protection against disconnect between November and April. Applications taken November 1 – April 30
  • GRASP: If your household meets the established income guidelines, your income is verified, and you are a resident of the city of Des Moines, you qualify to receive discounts on swim lessons, tennis lessons, basketball and much more!

Proteus, Inc. | 3850 Merle Hay Road | 515-272-5303

  • Tuesdays 8:00am-4:30pm
  • Assists with emergency financial assistance to mainly non-English speaking families

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Community Meals

Creative Visions | 1343 13th Street | 515-244-4003

  • Sunday evening meals 5:00-7:00pm

Des Moines Public Schools

  • Breakfast & Lunch for individuals 18 & under – Summer only

Friendship Center | 1526 MLK Parkway | 515-244-1701

  • Breakfast 9:30-11:00am every Tuesday
  • Personal hygiene items also given out

Hope Ministries Café | 1310 6th Avenue | 515-244-5445

  • Monday-Saturday: Breakfast at 7:00am; Lunch at 12:00pm; Dinner at 5:00pm
  • Sunday meal hours: Breakfast at 8:00am; Lunch at 1:30pm; Dinner at 5:00pm

Polk County Central Senior Center | 2008 Forest Avenue | 515-286-3677

  • Serves dinner Monday-Friday starting at 4:00pm until they run out of food; open to community

Zion Lutheran Church | 4300 Beaver Avenue | 515-270-8142

  • Wednesday evening meals during school year

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Community Gardens / Farmers’ Markets

Beaverdale Farmers’ Market | 4100 Urbandale Avenue

  • 4:00-7:30pm every Tuesday from June 5 to Sept. 11

Des Moines Parks & Recreation

  • Multiple locations
  • 75% discount with GRASP Card

Woodlawn Community Garden | 3126 Twana Drive

Franklin Community Garden | 55th and Franklin

LSI Community Gardens | 515-271-7307

  • Locations:
    • Drake Neighborhood Association Community Garden (Just South of the intersection of University Avenue and 27th St.)
    • Intentional Eucharistic Community Garden (3300 University Avenue)

LSI Global Greens Farmers Market | 3200 University Avenue

  • 9:00am-1:00pm every Saturday starting June 2

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Health Insurance Assistance

DHS Carpenter Office | 1900 Carpenter Avenue | 515-286-3555

Polk County River Place | 2309 Euclid Avenue | 515-725-2600

VNS Application Assistance | 1111 9th St. | 515-288-1516

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Rental Housing Assistance

Anawim Housing | 2024 Forest Avenue, Suite 101 | 515-244-8308

  • Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm

Home, Inc. | 1111 9th Street. – United Way Building | (515) 243-1277

Section 8/Public Housing, City of Des Moines | 100 E. Euclid, Suite 101 | 515-323-8950

  • Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm

Up-to-date Available Rentals

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Children’s Programming

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa | 9051 Swanson Blvd, Clive, IA 50325 | 515-288-9025

  • Community-based and school-based mentoring programs
  • After-school and Summer: Homework assistance and tutoring, technology centers, college/career prep, field trips, swimming lessons, mentoring, arts and crafts, music, athletics, etc.

Boys and Girls Club

  • Ellis I. Levitt Club (K-5th)
    Carver Community School | 705 E University Ave
    Amelia Gibson, Unit Director: 515-280-5397
  • Frank J. Ross Club (K-5th)
    Moore Elementary School | 3716 50th Street
    Kristina Cox, Program Specialist: 515-242-7651
  • Meredith Club (6th-12th)
    Meredith Middle School | 4827 Madison Ave.
    Tyler Von Seggern, Unit Director: 515-262-5695

Freedom for Youth | 2301 Hickman Road | 515-282-4822

  • The following after-school programs are offered for K-12th grade students: Whiz Kidz (elementary); Discovery (middle school); Journey (high school)
  • Transitional Housing for youth ages 18-21

Metro Kids | Monroe Elementary – 3015 Francis Ave

  • Metro Kids is a fee-based before and after-school childcare program available in elementary schools on school days. All kindergarten-5th grade students are eligible.
  • Program hours are 6:30am-5:45pm. On non-school days, all-day child-care services are available at regional sites.

Young Women’s Resource Center | 818 5th Avenue | 515-244-4901

  • 5th grade, Middle School, and High School programming for young girls/women

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Drug and Alcohol Help Line | 1-866-242-4111

Iowa Coalition against Domestic Violence | 1-800-942-0333 | 24 hour statewide hotline

Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline | 1-800-284-7821

  • The Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline is a 24-hour line providing support, information and referral services to survivors of sexual abuse, significant others, people concerned about sexual abuse and people seeking information and referral. All services are free of charge, confidential and available to women, men and children.

Mental Health Mobile Crisis Response Team | Broadlawns Hospital, 1801 Hickman Rd. | Emergency: 911 | Non-Emergency: 515-283-4811

Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) | 515-235-8846

  • Provides care level of an inpatient psychiatric facility within the consumer’s home.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline | 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

United Way of Central Iowa | Call 2-1-1

  • Connects callers to support and assistance, including: rent assistance, food pantries, affordable housing, utility assistance, health and mental health resources, child care and after-school programs, elderly care, job training programs, legal services, crisis intervention, disability services, and volunteer opportunities.

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Emergency Shelters

Central Iowa Shelter & Services | 1420 Mulberry St. | 515-284-5719

  • Central Iowa Shelter & Services’ Mission is to provide low-barrier shelter, meals and support services at no cost to adults experiencing homelessness and to facilitate their move toward self-sufficiency.

Primary Healthcare | Homeless Outreach: 515-248-1447

  • The Homeless Support team works with a network of area landlords to help place those needing housing.

St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter | 1535 11th Street | 515-282-1235

  • Only emergency shelter in Polk County where the entire family unit can stay together. St. Joseph’s provides safe, clean housing for homeless families for a limited stay.

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Free Medical Clinics

Creative Visions | 1343 13th Street | 515-244-4003

  • Walk-ins on Thursdays 10:00am-3:00pm

Grace United Methodist Church | Cottage Grove | 515-255-2131

  • Walk-ins on Tuesdays 5:30-7:30pm

First Assembly of God | 2725 Merle Hay Road | 515-279-9766

  • Thursdays 6:00-8:00pm; Must be checked in by 7:30pm
  • Also has a food pantry

Primary Healthcare | 1200 University Avenue

  • Community Health Center
  • Interpreters onsite
  • Medicaid help; pharmacy available but have to be seen by Primary Healthcare; case managers for HIV

Scavo Clinics – DMPS | 1800 Grand Avenue | 515-242-8488

  • Dental Care: Nolden Gentry Dental
  • Primary Healthcare Clinic will:
    • Treat illnesses; Conduct athletic physicals; Give immunizations
  • Also has a food pantry

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Savings Programs

IMPACT Communication Action Partnership | 3226 University Avenue | 515-274-1334

  • If your household meets the established income guidelines, your income is verified, and you are a resident of the city of Des Moines, you qualify to receive discounts on swim lessons, tennis lessons, basketball, etc. Des Moines Parks and Recreation.

Individual Development Account (IDA) Program
Lutheran Services in Iowa (LSI) | 3200 University Avenue | 515-271-7311

  • Program that helps you save for a car, home, business, or education.
  • You can participate in this program if you: arrived in the U.S. with refugee status, have been in the U.S. for less than 5 years, have income, and are at or below 200 % poverty
  • To sign up for this program, you will need: a valid ID, I-94 or Green Card, and proof of income (one month of pays stubs for every working member of your family).
  • You will use a savings account to save money for a car, home, business, or education. LSI will contribute matching funds. LSI will give you a maximum of $2,000 for one person or $4,000 for a family.
  • You must complete all required trainings in order to receive matching funds.

Individual Development Account (IDA) Program
Iowa Credit Union Foundation | 1500 NW 118th St. | 800-860-6180

  • The Iowa Credit Union Foundation’s Individual Development Account Program (IDA) offers matched savings accounts for families with limited resources who meet income-based criteria.
    Similar to IDA Program at LSI, but no refugee status requirement.

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Employment Assistance

Central Iowa Works | 1111 9th Street, Suite 260 | 515-243-2130

  • Need 2 forms of ID and your Social Security Number

Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families | 1801 University Avenue, Unit 3 | 515-697-7700

  • Need 2 forms of ID and your Social Security Number

Goodwill Career Connection Center | Stoney Point Plaza – SE 14th , Ste. 2300 | 515-953-6456

  • Provides FREE services. Get help looking for work or advancing your career through: resume assistance, job search skills training, computer skills training, access to computers, internet, faxes, and other office equipment, application assistance, dress for success seminars, mock interviews, hiring Events and Career Fairs, Professional Development workshops, and LinkedIn and Advanced LinkedIn

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Food Pantries

Creative Visions | 1343 13th Street | 515-244-4003

  • Families can come once every 30 days
  • Monday-Thursday 9:00am-7:00pm
  • Saturdays 10:00am-2:00pm

DM Area Religious Council | 3816 36th Street | 515-277-6969

  • Monday-Friday

First Federated Church | 4801 Franklin Avenue | 515-255-2122

  • Tuesdays 9:00-11:00am

IMPACT Community Action Partnership | 3226 University Avenue | 515-518-4770

  • One time per calendar month; every 7 days for emergency food; once a week for produce

Monroe Elementary School | 3015 Francis Avenue | 515-242-8373

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays at 2:40pm for Monroe Families during the school year. If there is no school on a Tuesday or Thursday, the food pantry will also be closed that day.

Polk County River Place | 2309 Euclid Avenue | 515-286-3695

  • Once per calendar month: receive a four-day supply of food and other non-essential non-food items; bring photo ID for each individual in family;
  • Monday-Friday 8:00am-5:00pm; bread and produce daily;
  • Thursdays – appt. scheduling starts at 8:00am for Financial Assistance.

Salvation Army | 1330 6th Avenue | 515-282-3422

  • Once a month; Bring ID for each individual in household
  • Other services: infant center; material assistance; adult rehab center

St. Vincent de Paul | 1426 6th Avenue | 515-282-8327

  • Monday-Friday 8:30am-3:00pm: food, clothing & personal hygiene;
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays: food pantry only 5:00-7:00pm

Urbandale Food Pantry | 7611 Douglas Ave #34-35, Urbandale | 515-261-6688

WhoVille Food Pantry | 4440 College Avenue | Emergency: 515-401-9475

  • Wednesdays 12:00-3:00pm & Saturdays 9:00-12:00

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ESL Classes

First Federated Church | 4801 Franklin Avenue | Contact Karen Kennedy at 778-9697

  • Wednesdays 6:30-7:30pm
  • All levels are welcome and childcare is available

Forest Avenue Library | 1326 Forest Avenue | 515-283-4152

  • Tuesdays 12:30-1:30pm

Friendship Center | 1526 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway | 515-244-1701

  • Basic English: Mondays at 5:00pm
  • childcare available

Lutheran Services of Iowa | 515-271-7335

  • The Refugee English and Acculturation Program (REAP) provides community-based English as a Second Language (ESL) classes to help legal refugees overcome the language and cultural challenges they face after arriving in Iowa.

Trinity United Methodist Church | 1548 8th Street | 515-771-8656

  • ESL Classes offered twice weekly
  • Fee: $15 for book, but class is free
  • Childcare available for free

Zion Lutheran Church | 4300 Beaver Avenue | 515-270-8142

  • ESL classes
  • Mizo and Swahili services
  • Other services:
    • Clothing Closet (10-12 M-F), bedding, Dental Clinic Ministry (Wednesdays 5:30-7:30pm, ages 3-18), Community Gardens, Wednesday evening meals, job assistance (Wednesday evenings 5:30-7:30pm), Sunday morning breakfasts, bread and furniture, etc.; transportation assistance

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Pregnancy Support

Agape Pregnancy Center | 2550 Martin Luther King | 515-255-0243

  • Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm
  • Must call first for assistance with clothing

Alpha Women’s Center | 3605 SE 14th St. | 515-285- 5700

  • FREE: pregnancy tests, maternity clothing, baby closet, and classes with videos & DVDs

Birthright | 5806 Hickman Rd. | 515-633-2133

  • Free diapers; Birthright services are always free, non-judgmental and confidential

Young Women’s Resource Center | 818 5th Avenue | 515-244-4901

  • Pregnancy and Birth Support Group: Wednesdays 5:30-7:30pm (any expecting mom up to age 21)
  • Support Group for young moms: Monday-Thursday 8:00am-5:00pm & Fridays 8:00am-12:00pm

VNS | 1111 9th St., Ste. 320 | 515-288-1516

  • Stork’s Nest and Family Nest serve the needs of at-risk pregnant and parenting women and their families by providing participants the opportunity to earn points for healthy behaviors. The points are then redeemed toward needed items, such as diapers, clothing, strollers, cribs and car seats. Family Nest participants may also redeem points for needed household supplies such as laundry detergent, pots and pans, and dishwashing detergent.

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Early Childhood Education

DMPS Preschool | 515-242-7588

  • DMPS Universal Preschool classes are held four days per week: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
  • There are two options for length of day: Half-day preschool (no cost) and Full-day preschool (parent pay or 1 unit childcare assistance).
  • Some scholarships are available for the full-day Universal Preschool classrooms at McKee, Mitchell and Woodlawn.

Drake University Head Start & Early Head Start | 3206 University Avenue | 515-271-1854

  • School readiness programs, including meals
  • Locations and times vary; for kids birth to age 5
  • Family literacy programs
  • Medical, dental, nutrition, and social services

Grace Pre-School | 3700 Cottage Grove | 515-255-2131
Schedule a tour by contacting Kelly Donnelly – 515-279-5942

  • High-quality preschool; part-time or full-time child care
  • For children between the ages of 2 and 5
  • Project-Based Learning
  • Discounted pricing or free depending on income

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Child Care Assistance

Complete and submit an application online at: OR download the application at and return to:

DHS Carpenter Office | 1900 Carpenter Avenue | 515-286-3555

Polk County River Place | 2309 Euclid Avenue | 515-725-2600

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Legal Support

American Friends Service Committee | 4211 Grand Avenue
AFSC’s Iowa Immigrant Rights Program works with immigrants in Central Iowa to help build a sense of community so that new immigrants will be able to participate in the political processes in their communities.

  • Erica Johnson | 515-209-2733
  • Sandra Sanchez | 515-274-4854
  • Jody Mashek | 515-274-4851

Justice for Our Neighbors | 2024 Forest Avenue | 515-255-9809
Welcomes low-income immigrants of all faiths into our churches and communities by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education, and advocacy.

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