By Michelle Howe

The Turkey Trot to benefit Horizons Family Service Alliance returns for the 25th year!This annual, local race is a terrific way for family and friends to race for a worthy cause. This year’s8K Run & 4K Family Fun Run/Walk will be held on Saturday, November 11, at 9am at Marion High School, 675 S 15th St, Marion. The race will be followed with a pancake breakfast and awards presentation. ($5 pancake breakfast for non-racers) The Turkey Trot is organized by the churches of Marion and chaired by Pat and Vivian Quinn. The proceeds of this important fundraiser stay local and benefit Horizons’ programs and the FLY (Feeding Lunches to Youth) Program. Their core programs include Meals on Wheels for seniors & youths, Financial Health Services, Family Support & Survivors Programs, Mental Health & Wellness Services, and Transportation for Employment, Education & Health.

“We rely heavily on community funding and volunteer support to help us provide these important services. With reduced funding for each of our programs this fiscal year, the support we receive from the Turkey Trot is more important than ever,” said Peg Moses, CEO and CFO of Horizons. “We appreciate everything Pat and Vivian Quinn and the race committee do each year to help make the event successful.”

You can register to run or volunteer for The 25th Anniversary-Return of the Turkey Trot at www.trottt.com. 

In December, Horizons Toy Drive will help area families make this holiday season special; and you can help! Donate a gift for a child or senior, or volunteer to wrap gifts during their Holiday of Hope event. Volunteers to deliver gifts are also needed. More information can be found at www.hoirizonsfamily.org.

Horizons, A Family Service Alliance, has a mission to instill hope, change lives and brighten futures by providing life changing services to under-served populations. Horizons’ is located at 819 5th St SE, Cedar Rapids, and serves more than 15,000 individuals annually in East Central Iowa. Their wide range of programs serve, educate, and assist individuals and families at every stage of life and allow for multiple needs to be met along with offering individually tailored services. A recent affiliation agreement between Horizons and Elder Services of Iowa City has allowed both organizations to expand operations in the Corridor. This partnership demonstrates how groups can successfully work together to utilize strengths and have a greater impact in our community.

For over 120 years, Waypoint (formerly YWCA) has existed as a vital community resource for individuals in crisis. Waypoint offers a variety of proactive services and resources for those experiencing homelessness, poverty, or domestic violence, as well as providing quality childcare; and volunteers help make it possible. Waypoint needs volunteers in many capacities including food pantry support, daytime resource program volunteers, classroom aids, and event volunteers are needed throughout the year. Age requirements vary from 16-21+ depending on the program. Currently Waypoint is collecting new and unwrapped toys, puzzles, books, games and household items to be given away at their annual “Waypoint Wonderland” on December 14th. Waypoint Wonderland is a celebration that provides holiday gifts to families served by Waypoint. Last year, Waypoint provided gifts to over 500 children in need. Each mother also received a gift. Donations for this year’s Waypoint Wonderland will be accepted Monday through Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm at Waypoint’s main administrative building, located at 318 5th St. SE, Cedar Rapids, through December 12th. Volunteers are also needed to help sort and deliver gifts. For questions on volunteering or donating call Ashley Taylor at 319.365.1458 or email ashley.taylor@waypointservices.com.

November 11 – 19, 2017 is National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week (HHAW). Waypoint’s Homeless and Housing Program is a much needed service that supports households experiencing a housing crisis by finding stable housing or emergency shelter. In fiscal year 2017, Waypoint served 397 people through their Homeless Prevention Services with 96% achieving permanent housing after exiting the program. Waypoint was also able to assist 674 individuals through the Rapid Re-Housing Service with a 61% exit rate to permanent housing. Take part in Waypoint’s May Baskets for the Homeless event to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty in the area. The event is a donation drive for laundry baskets, boxes, or plastic storage tubs filled with toiletries, baby products, and cleaning supplies, benefiting families living in poverty and women and families with children temporarily residing at the Madge Phillips Center Shelter (MPC). Visit www.waypointservices.org for more details.

Local Food Pantries are in need of donations and volunteers. With the holiday season approaching it’s a good reminder that many people in our community may be without some of the basic necessities we so often take for granted – such as food and shelter. Below is a short list of food pantries that serve the Cedar Rapids area that are in need of volunteers. A complete listing can be found at https://www.foodpantries.org/ci/ia-cedar_rapids.

Linn Community Food Bank - Lower level of First Presbyterian Church, 310 5th St. SE – 319.364.3543. Hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30am-10am or 12:45pm-3:30pm. Requirements to receive benefits are proof of Social Security Number for every member of the household and a Photo ID.

Metro Catholic Outreach Cedar Rapids - 420 6th St. SE – 319.739.5490. Food is distributed from 1pm-3pm on Wednesdays; 10am-12pm on Thursdays and 5:30pm on Thursdays. Food may be donated to the center from 9am-3pm Monday through Friday.

Foundation 2 Crisis Center Food Pantry - 1540 2nd Ave. SE – 319.362.2174. Hours are Monday 5:30pm-8:30pm; Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 6pm-7:45pm; Thursday 5:30pm-8:30pm, Saturday and Sunday 1pm-4pm. Photo ID required.

Mission of Hope - 1537 1st Ave. SE – 319.362.5559. Hours are Tuesday - Friday 9am–Noon and 1pm-4pm. Saturday 9am-4pm.

Olivet Neighborhood Mission - 230 10th St NW – 319.364.7946. Hours vary. Call for more information on donating and receiving times.

River of Life Food Pantry - 3801 Blairsferry Rd NE – 319.393.3709. Wednesday’s 8am-10am.

St. Vincent de Paul - 928 7th St SE – 319.365.5091. Hours vary. Call for more information on donating and receiving times.

Salvation Army - 1000 C Ave. NW – 319.364.9131. Appointment only. Households can receive a food box from The Salvation Army up to six times a year. The box contains non-perishable food items and frozen meat products, providing approximately two weeks worth of meals.

The Salvation Army welcomes anyone in need to join them for breakfast and lunch at the Corps Community Center each weekday. Breakfast is served Monday - Friday 8am-9am.
Lunch is served Monday - Friday from Noon-1 pm. 

Our area is blessed to have so many wonderful organizations that help those in need. The reason it works, is you. Volunteers and donations are what make these organizations possible. Consider donating or volunteering this holiday season and throughout the year.

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