DES MOINES, Iowa — They give out food to families who run out before the next payday. They help new parents with the seemingly endless need for diapers. And they assist people with drug or criminal backgrounds to prepare for a career. In other words, staff at Urban Dreams in Des Moines haven’t had much time for the cleaning, packing, sorting and shifting that is required for moving day, which is now two weeks away.
“Today is a good day for us. It’s the day that the community can really give back to the staff and clients of Urban Dreams and help us help others,” said Izaah Knox, the organization’s appreciative executive director.
Knox appreciated people like Craig Owens, one of the dozens of volunteers who signed up for the dirty, sweaty, tiring day to get the office ready for its new home. It’s no coincidence that the effort fell on the National Day of Service, in remembrance of the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Junior.
“My fear about a day of service is we think one day of service and I’m done for the year. But if we use it right, and we say that this is a reminder or kind of a punctuation mark in a year of service or a lifetime of service, that’s the best thing that a day of service can do for us,” Owens said between his time moving boxes.
Owens is an Urban Dreams board member and professor at Drake University.
Dr. Mary Chapman, a longtime community activist, and Urban Dreams board member, also volunteered. She encouraged others to use their time and talents to volunteer in whatever way fits. “When I think of our community, you can see service is everywhere. You can see service in schools. When I think about the corporate community, they provide service by providing time for their employees to take time off work. That’s service. When they are a good philanthropic servant, that’s service because they’re investing in the community.”
Urban Dreams is moving to a new facility a few blocks away at the end of the month.