Our Caring Community

How can we help?

Our Caring Community is all about how we can be of service to each other. This ministry is shared by our professional staff, lay leaders and teams, and potentially everyone who is part of First Unitarian. Here’s how we break it down:

    • Minister – addresses critical issues
    • Caring Ministry – meets short term, immediate needs
    • Pastoral Care – provides listening and support over a period of time

You can contact our Caring Ministry Coordinator at caring@ucdsm.org or 515-244-8603 ext. 108.

Another way that we support each other is through sharing of important milestones,  joys and concerns with each other.  Please see our Joys & Sorrows page for more information.

Caring Ministry

There are many reasons you might need a bit of help now and then. Caring Ministry involves a broad group of volunteers who are ready to give you a hand with a variety of needs, such as:

  • New baby arrival – meals, support for new parents, baby quilt
  • Rides – to church (temporary basis only) or to the doctor
  • Meals – during illness or injury, new baby in the family, or in a time of distress
  • Household tasks – lawn care, housecleaning, etc. (temporary basis only)
  • Cards – when you might not want visitors, but an encouraging word or something humorous would be appreciated
  • Errands/shopping – to keep safe those in our community who are most vulnerable

If you need help please don’t hesitate to request assistance from our Caring Ministry Team.

Request Caring Assistance

Best way to contact me:

And we always welcome new people who want to lend a hand to our church community members in need. If you would like to be included in our helper list, please let us know in the form below:

Provide Caring Assistance Sign-Up Form

"*" indicates required fields

Your Name*
I am interested in helping with:*
I'm available:*
Please list the dates / days of the week / times you are available to provide caring assistance.

If you have any questions, please contact our Caring Ministry Coordinator at caring@ucdsm.org.

Pastoral Care

Mission: The Pastoral Care Team is to provide a ministry of support, hope, and caring so that no one in the congregation feels alone in difficult times in their life.

The Pastoral Care Team is a lay led ministry caring for the Congregation, members and friends alike. The Team works collaboratively with our Minister in order to expand the Congregation’s  pastoral care presence. The Minister serves in a mentoring role to the Team.

Pastoral Care Mission Statement

Our covenant to the congregation is to:

  • Hold in confidence what is shared with the Team;
  • Support those with difficult life transitions such as miscarriage, childbirth, adoption, divorce, blending families, addiction, dying, grieving, loss of job, acute or chronic physical and mental illness, adjustment to disability; gender identity, pandemic, dementia, surgery, chemo, etc.
  • Visit congregants who are home-bound, in a nursing home or hospital, or otherwise unable to participate in church functions;
  • Support caregivers;
  • Comfort the bereaved.

Contact: Laura Berardi, Chair | pastoralcareteam@ucdsm.org

Grief Support Circle

Any who are dealing with the loss of a loved one are invited to attend as many or as few sessions that work for you. If this group doesn’t work for you but you need help working through your grief, please reach out to the Pastoral Care Team.

The Grief Support Circle meets in the Minister’s Office on the 2nd Thursdays of the month from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Please email griefgroup@ucdsm.org for more information.

Joys & Sorrows

As a community, we care about your joys and your concerns, the news of significant personal challenges, successes, and milestones that impact your life. We invite you to share those with us in whatever way feels appropriate for you.

You can do that through the form below, or by contacting either our Caring Ministry Coordinator at caring@ucdsm.org or 515-344-4360, or our Pastoral Team Chair at pastoralcareteam@ucdsm.org.

Submit a Joy or Sorrow

"*" indicates required fields

If you are submitting a Joy/Sorrow on behalf of someone else:*
Your Name*
Check all that apply:*
Are you a member of the church?

Community Resources

Below, you will find a list of resources in the Des Moines area, and links to their websites for more information.

If you would like your community resource featured, or know of another resource that we should feature, please email the information to communications@ucdsm.org.

Emergency Help: Polk County Social Services

Rent Assistance

Polk County General Assistance: 515-286-2088

  • One-time assistance every 12 months
  • Must have some kind of “earned income”, cannot be receiving public benefits (Social Security Disability, etc.).
  • Can also help with first-month’s rent for a new place

IMPACT: 515-518-4770

  • Up to 12 months total of assistance while funds last

Cross Outreach: 515-279-9998

  • One-time assistance every 12 months
  • Can help with deposit for a new place

Utility Assistance

Polk County General Assistance: 515-286-2088

  • See above, also:
  • Must have a disconnect notice

IMPACT: 515-518-4770

  • Must have a disconnect notice

Cross Outreach: 515-279-9998

  • One-time assistance every 12 months

Other Resources

Aging Resources of Central Iowa: 515-255-1310

  • Maintain list of senior housing in central Iowa
  • Good general referral

Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families: 515-697-7700

  • Workforce development – resume & job-search assistance, etc.

Primary Health Care Homeless Outreach: 515-248-1850

  • Centralized intake for people seeking shelter
  • Some prevention services – they’re a good general referral

https://www.findhelp.org/ – comprehensive search for social services by ZIP Code

Central Iowa Resources for Crisis Assistance: Call 2-1-1 or go to 211.org for help related to:

  • paying bills, including housing, utilities, and healthcare expenses
  • finding food
  • Covid-19
  • disaster recovery
  • mental health
  • substance use

Mental Health

Your Life Iowa Crisis Line: call 855-851-8111 or text 855-895-8398

Your Life Iowa is a crisis line that provides information and referral, counseling, crisis service coordination, and linkages to crisis screening and mental health services including dispatch of the CICS mobile Response Team 24 hours per day.

Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 (press 1)

Homeless Services: Centralized Intake through Primary Health Care: 515-248-1850