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 140 meals to 107 people on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. In 2016, more than 2900 volunteers served 37,650 meals.
The Connection Cafe is a program created by The Bridge, a collaboration of four downtown Des Moines churches as part of their mission to minister to the poor. 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 private non-profit 501 c 3 entity by the US government in 2001. Established as the result of a bequest to St. John's, 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 worshipping in downtown Des Moines. The Bridge is governed by a Board of Directors representing clergy and members from the collaborating churches.
For the calendar year 2016, The Connection Cafe served more than 37,650 meals with an average of more than 10 volunteers per day. Over 9,500 volunteer hours were contributed to the preparation and serving of the meals, which had an estimated value of about $80,000. We also received nearly $200,000 in other "in-kind" contributions in 2016. This includes donations of volunteer hours, office space, serving space, 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