For 45 years, Olivet Neighborhood Mission has offered food, clothing, and household items to families in need in Cedar Rapids. When life delivers unexpected hardships, Olivet Neighborhood Mission (ONM) can make a huge difference for individuals and families who need extra help to make it through a month or two.
ONM offers basic necessities such as food, clothing, and household items at no cost, and it also hosts a community garden where people can grow their own vegetables. The nonprofit has an onsite registered nurse who can answer medical questions, and there are educational programs for children, including Head Start. The goal at ONM is to help families retain their independence and dignity while receiving the support they need to reach new work and personal goals.
“Locally-focused nonprofits provide important services to our most vulnerable and marginalized neighbors,” says Julie Palmer, director of ONM. “All of the fundraising we do as a nonprofit serves community members, which is to say that the money stays local and we see the impact it has on the people who come through our doors.”
ONM serves an average of 250 people per day and more than 3,600 people per month. In addition to the food pantry it runs, the nonprofit also organizes youth programs, an annual school supplies drive, and partners with the Cedar Rapids Boys & Girls Club to offer recreational activities to the families it serves.
Fall is a busy time for ONM. The nonprofit is gearing up for its Stock the Food Pantry fundraiser, a Thanksgiving-themed food donation drive held every year in November. Last year, the nonprofit distributed an astonishing 930,000 pounds of food. The nonprofit is also preparing for its annual holiday adoptions program, which matches needy families with local donors who provide gifts and other items to ensure a cheerful holiday season.
Recently, ONM received funding that will allow it to provide food staples every week. In the past, the nonprofit could only provide food staples to a family once every two weeks. This significant change was made possible by the Maurice Paul & Glennys Brimmer Foundation, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, and Nina & Victor Merveaux Fund.
ONM is always looking for new volunteers and donors, says Palmer. The number of Cedar Rapids households in need is growing, and the nonprofit continues to look for new ways to help families.
Olivet Neighborhood Mission
230 10th St. NW
Ph: (319) 364-7946
For more information about how to donate time or money to ONM, please visit: www.olivetmission.org.