Mission Opportunities

GANews YouthGleanersThere are always plenty of opportunities to participate in local mission work at the General Assembly!

Assembly organizers have planned all kinds of mission work for Des Moines. Return to this page often to see the latest dates, times, and locations. Some will require registration.

During General Assembly, you can visit the information center to learn more and to sign up for projects around town. Transportation will be provided from the event center to off-site mission opportunities.



Sign up via registration system for simulation workshops

Refugee simulation

You are huddled in a holding area. Nothing is familiar except the faces of your immediate families. It’s noisy and uncomfortable. You will get a glimpse of refugee camp life.
Get a small taste of the refugee experience in this simulation, similar to that of refugees who are now living in the upper Midwest. See what it is like to be hustled from one office to another in a confusing legal process. Vignettes will include “Day in our Shoes”: access to water, food, medical, basic language skills for shopping, school, job application and other components. Facilitators: Linda Wolf, retired PhD in international and global education, and Vinh Nguyen of Center for New Americans, and others;

1:30 pm Sunday, Hall A; second session 3:00 pm Q & A with Vinh Nguyen and Disciples Home Missions staff, Hall A

Hunger Simulation

Did you know that nearly one in seven in the US are struggling to make ends meet, putting them at risk for food insecurity? The DMARC Hunger Simulation Experience is an opportunity to better understand the challenges facing many of our neighbors as they try to provide healthy food for their households. This interactive and hands-on experience lasts about an hour and a half and is ideal for adults and youth (6th grade and up), but children are welcome to participate with an adult. Join us to learn more about the issue of food insecurity and ways to make a difference!

The DMARC Food Pantry network assists 17,500 individuals each month in the great Des Moines metro area, providing access to healthy, high quality food. Our work would not be possible without the support of many communities of faith working together—of which the Disciples of Christ are a very important part!

Tuesday at 1:30 in Hall A


Community Blood Drive – LifeServe Blood Center

Donate your blood to save lives. LifeServe is a non-profit community blood center. They are the sole provider of blood to more than 120 hospitals in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota!

To donate, a donor must:

  • Present a form of ID upon registration
  • Be 16 years of age or older. Individuals under the age of 18 must provide a signed the attached parental/guardian permission form.
  • Weigh at least 120 pounds.
  • Not have made a whole blood, double red cell, platelet or plasma donation prior to becoming eligible.
  • Have normal blood pressure, pulse, temperature and hemoglobin screenings.
  • Not be pregnant.
  • Not have a cold.
  • Not be under a doctor’s care for any serious illness or injury.

Tips for a successful donation:  get a good night’s sleep before your blood donation; eat breakfast or lunch – don’t donate on an empty stomach; drink plenty of fluids 24-48 hours before your appointment (Propel is a great way to hydrate); eat iron rich foods before you donate – red meat, fish, poultry, beans, spinach, iron-fortified cereals, oatmeal and raisins.

LifeServe will be taking donations from 11 AM – 4 PM on Monday July 22nd, and Tuesday July 23rdin the mobile unit in the southeast parking lot.

Sign up for Monday    Sign up for Tuesday

For any additional questions about donations please go to https://www.lifeservebloodcenter.org/


Other mission activities

Sign up for activities below


Joppa is an organization in Des Moines whose mission is to create communities of unconditional love, support and hope for the homeless as we work together to prevent and ultimately end homelessness. One of the ways they are achieving this mission is with plans to create a transitional tiny home village to provide folks with shelter and opportunities to overcome barriers to permanent housing. The village will have shared bath & laundry facilities as well as a community building for meal site, service providers, meetings, training, and community lounge. The transition program will provide structured delivery of services to help residents transition to stable income and housing within 12-24 months.

Tiny Home Build
  • Disciples will actually build a tiny home either inside the Exhibit Hall at the General Assembly or at the site of the tiny home village.
  • This volunteer opportunity will be available throughout the General Assembly
  • Children may be able to contribute to some jobs such as painting but should have guardian supervision
  • Tools will be provided
  • We are seeking individuals with construction experience who can read a blueprint to act in a leadership role.
Village Preparation
  • It is expected that Joppa will have obtained the land on which the tiny home village will be built by July. If so, disciples may have the opportunity to work at the tiny home village on a variety of projects to prepare for new residents- landscaping, community building preparation, painting, maintenance, etc

Sign up

Abandoned Camp Cleanup
  • If there is a homeless camp site that has been abandoned, disciples can volunteer to clean up the site.
  • Date(s) and time(s) TBD
  • Long pants, closed toed shoes, work gloves, sunscreen, bug spray, and hats recommended

Food Bank of Iowa

  • Food Sorting: Labeling, counting, and boxing donated food.
  • Volunteers must be aged 10 years or older. Wear layered clothing and must wear closed-toed shoes (no sandals).
  • Date(s)/time(s): Monday, July 22nd [1pm-4pm], Wednesday, July 24th [8:30am-11:30am; 1pm-4pm] Sign up
  • Location(s): Food Bank of Iowa Volunteer Center located at 2220 E. 17th Street Des Moines IA 50316

Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS): FULL

  • Serve a meal to members of the community experiencing homelessness. Disciples will not be responsible for meal preparation, only serving.
  • Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Date(s)/time(s): Tuesday, 7/23. 11:00am to 1:00pm
  • Location(s): 1420 Mulberry St, Des Moines, IA 50309

Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC)

Red Barrel Events:
  • Small groups of disciples are invited to be present at various Des Moines area grocery stores to greet shoppers and encourage them to give cash or purchase donations to drop in the red barrel to benefit the food pantry system. Sample Photo:
  • All Ages welcome.
  • Date(s)/time(s): TBD (likely a 2h block of time) Sign up
  • Location(s): Local grocery stores
Meals from the market:
  • On Saturday, DMARC and Disciples will collect donations from farmers at the downtown farmers market.
  • Date(s)/time(s): Saturday July 20, 2019. 7:00 AM – 12:00 PM Sign up
  • Location(s): Downtown Farmers Market
  • Number of volunteer slots: 15 youth/adults. 
Gardening in various large church gardens
  •  All ages. Wear old clothes, hat, gloves, sunscreen.
  • Date(s)/time(s): TBD Sign up
  • Location(s): Gardens located at local churches and nonprofits
  • Number of volunteer slots: TBD

Blanket Project

(crocheted, knitted, and tie fleece)

We will be making blankets/lap robes for children and elderly during the General Assembly. The completed lap robes will be shared with area nursing homes to give to new residents as a welcome to the facility and children’s blankets will be distributed by our Department of Human Services throughout the state to be given to children who have to be removed from their homes. In both of these situations the blanket will help the recipient know that someone cares about them.

Participants are invited to bring size 13 knitting needles or size N crochet hook as well as yarn to make a blanket. There will be yarn available at our location in the Iowa Events Center as well as a limited number of crochet hooks and knitting needles.

We will also be making fleece tie blankets throughout the assembly. If you’d like to make yours early, here are some instructions  Word  PDF

We will accept volunteers of all ages to help with the project but children 10 and under will need to be accompanied by an adult. We will be open from 9:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. daily during the assembly.

We have  some sample patterns ( PDF) if anyone would like to make blankets before the assembly and bring them to the assembly completed.

We could use donations of 4 ply yarn or fleece that are 1 ¾ yds long by at least 42 inches wide. Donated or loaned crochet hooks or knitting needles are also wanted.

Our project area will be located in the Iowa Events Center. Check back here as this entry will be updated when a more specific location is identified. Otherwise, inquire at the information booth or mission booth at the General Assembly.

Letter Writing Campaign

During brief moments of free time at the General Assembly you can participate in this mission opportunity without leaving the Iowa Events Center. Send a handwritten letter to legislators and community leaders to express gratitude, build connections, and advocate for important issues. Stationery and examples will be available. Sign up

Iowa Homeless Youth Center

  • Pulling weeds, watering plants, planting herbs, etc in a garden on the rooftop of the building where the homeless youth grow their own food and learn gardening skills
  • Kitchen prep (help make a dish for lunch/dinner)
  • Light cleaning of the facility (clean windows, art room, etc.)
  • Organize donation closet (size clothes, put clothes on hangers)
  • Do an activity with youth (play a game, make a craft, etc.)

Volunteer slots: 10-15

Dates/Times: Monday 7/22  Sign up

Location: Iowa Homeless Youth Center; 612 Locust St

Dirty Disciples

  • The Veterans Hospital, the City of Des Moines, and local churches have helped us identify several individuals in the community who need our help! Yard work is a common request but please let us know if you have a specialized skill (ex: plumbing) and we will see if we can match it with someone in need.
  • Attire: closed toed shoes, long pants, hats, sunscreen, and bug spray recommended
  • Tools/equipment will be provided
  •  Locations: approximately 35 sites around Des Moines and immediate suburbs
  • Volunteer slots: 3-4 per site (a leader will be provided for each site. The goal is to have multiple sites clustered very near each other so transportation can be provided to a larger group easily.) Sign up

Central Iowa Shelter (CISS) Donation Sorting

On Monday, July 22, we could use a group of 10 to help sort donations (clothing or hygiene products) for 2 hours at CISS (1420 Mulberry Street in Des Moines). Our time frame is flexible based on the conference schedule. Close-toed shoes recommended.  All ages are welcome. Sign up

CISS T-shirt Bags

Serve CISS without leaving the Iowa Events Center! We invite you to help us transform old t-shirts into reusable cloth bags that CISS clients use in the clothing closet. Please bring your own long sleeved, short sleeved, or sleeveless t-shirts and scissors if possible but some will also be provided. Instructions will be included here if you would like to bring pre-made bags to donate. Instructions for making bags