Metro Non-Profit Organizers Hope Free Food for 24 Hours Entices Iowans to Make Lasting Connections

DES MOINES, Iowa  --  Pizza, barbecue, fruit, and chocolate chip cookies may sound like a dream day of eating for some. Organizers at Urban Dreams, a Des Moines non-profit that helps provide job training and other assistance to people, hope it will entice people to share a meal with others they wouldn't normally.

"We have meals with our families," Urban Dreams Executive Director Izaah Knox said, "We want to have meals with those we have the closest relationships with."

Starting at 10 a.m. on Monday until 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Urban Dreams and its volunteers will serve meals to anyone who walks in. Knox hopes it gets people to form relationships between neighbors, Urban Dreams, police, firefighters, and business leaders.

Des Moines Fire Chief John TiKeppe has a very practical hope of what could come from this. It has to do with trust, and in his line of work, the difference between life and death. "We come into their house to help them. We have to know their medications and their personal history to really help them," TiKeppe said. "So we really need that trust so we can share information and really be there for them."

Brenda Moore has been living in Des Moines for the past six years after moving from Minneapolis. She came to Des Moines looking for better opportunities and is still trying to find her ideal job working in an office. "It's quite a different adjustment," she said about moving to a place where she didn't know anyone previously.

She appreciates the efforts of Urban Dreams and knows there is distrust in her African American community with law enforcement. The rallies and violence that have recently occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia and Boston reinforce her concerns about relations between different groups of people. "Worse, I think it's getting worse," she said of what she sees in other places.

But Moore remains hopeful that, because of events like this one at Urban Dreams, there are those trying to better the environment. "It has a lot to do with the community," she said.

Restaurants are taking shifts throughout the 24-hour period to provide the food for the event. They include Baratta's, Buffalo Wild Wings, Capital City Fruit, DSM Brew, Gusto Pizza, Hy Vee, Latin King, Olive Garden, Papa John's Pizza, Ray Lewis BBQ, Smokey D's BBQ, and Texas Roadhouse.