The Connection Cafe serves lunch five days a week to homeless and low income individuals and families in downtown Des Moines. Under the direction of a paid coordinator, volunteers from more than 50 churches, schools and civic groups donate and serve an average of 137 meals to 105 people every weekday. In 2017, more than 2500 volunteers served 35,291 meals.
The Connection Cafe is a program of The Bridge, a collaboration of four downtown Des Moines churches as part of their mission to minister to those in need. St. Ambrose Cathedral, St. John's Lutheran church, St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral and First United Methodist church created The Bridge, which was designated a non-profit 501 c 3 entity by the US government in 2001. Established in January of 2004, the Connection Cafe became a program of The Bridge as it sought ways to accomplish the goal of enriching the lives of those living, working or worshiping in downtown Des Moines. The Bridge is governed by a Board of Directors including clergy and members from the collaborating churches.
For the calendar year 2017, The Connection Cafe served more than 35,290 meals with an average of nearly 10 volunteers per day. Over 8,000 volunteer hours were contributed to the preparation and serving of the meals, which had an estimated value of about $92,000. We also received more than $200,000 in other "in-kind" contributions in 2017. This includes donations of volunteer hours, office space, serving space, food, supplies, utilities, personal care items, clothing and other contributions.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
― Charles Dickens
“It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
― Mother Teresa
“Give, but give until it hurts.”
― Mother Teresa