Local Thanksgiving Meal Giveaway Turns into Feeding Thousands Across Several States


DES MOINES, Iowa — The pandemic has put financial strain on many Iowans and left communities struggling to put food on the table. A local nonprofit’s idea to provide a Thanksgiving meal has turned into impacting thousands across several Midwestern states.

“Low-income, high poverty, mostly diverse people of color are getting impacted greatly by unemployment rates or the disruption because of the pandemic,” said Izaah Knox, the executive director at Urban Dreams.

Seeing how food is an immediate need, Urban Dreams, which provides services to underserved communities, partnered with Hy-Vee, NAACP Des Moines and others for a turkey basket giveaway on Monday at Evelyn K. Davis Park.

The drive-thru and walk-up event is free and will give away 475 meals in Des Moines that feed a family of four. The kits include everything you need for a Thanksgiving meal, along with a gift certificate for a turkey and pie from Hy-Vee.

The idea for the event began as a way to serve the communities near Urban Dreams’ Des Moines and Cedar Rapids locations, but it has since transformed into Hy-Vee creating over 2,500 meal packages for communities in Nebraska, Missouri and Minnesota. Knox says it has been fulfilling to see a local idea grow into helping so many others.

“Having good relationships and good ideas, no matter where they are and where they come from, is just awesome to see when they grow. When somebody says let’s take this and let’s do this as big as we can and as fast as we can. Really it came together in a week,” Knox said.

The meal package giveaway in Des Moines begins Monday at 3 p.m. in the Evelyn K. Davis parking lot at 1400 Forest Avenue.

475 food baskets will be given away at Urban Dreams’ Cedar Rapids location outside the Ladd Library at 3750 Williams Blvd. SW on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at 10 a.m. Food baskets are available while supplies last.


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