City and CISS Provided 53,102 Free Meals During Summer of COVID

City Councilwoman Linda Westergaard distributing free mealsDES MOINES, IOWA – Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020 – The City of Des Moines, Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS) and local restaurants and caterers provided 53,102 free meals this summer to families and residents in need of assistance during the community spread of COVID-19. Starting in May and continuing into mid-September, 14 restaurant, caterers and food trucks collaborated on the COVID meal initiative at 14 distribution sites in neighborhoods through Des Moines’ four wards.

“This program helped Des Moines in two ways – we got meals to those who needed them while providing some vital business to those restaurants and food vendors significantly hit financially this summer by the pandemic,” said Mayor Frank Cownie. “That’s what we do in our community during tough times, we help each other.”

The participating restaurants were paid for each meal from $481,807 in COVID-19 relief funds provided by the City and administered by CISS.

The food vendors included The Big Red Truck Catering, Bubble Teakups, Chuck’s Restaurant, Con Amor Catering, El Fogon, Five Spice Sisters, Hy-Vee, Kitchen Spaces, Mac’D, Mootsie’s Munchies, Mr. Bibbs, Palm’s Caribbean Cuisine, Prep Kings and Tursi’s Latin King.

“Unfortunately, we have too many people who must pick between putting food on the table and paying rent, but working with the City and local restaurant owners, we were able to expand our services and provide this much-needed assistance during a most difficult time,” said Melissa O’Neil, CEO of CISS.


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Al Setka
Communications Manager, City Manager’s Office 
(515) 283-4057

About Central Iowa Shelter & Services
Since 1992, Central Iowa Shelter & Services’ mission is to provide low-barrier shelter, meals and support services at no cost to adults experiencing homelessness and to facilitate their move toward self-sufficiency. Approximately 2,000 women and men experiencing homelessness have received emergency shelter and supportive services to help them move beyond homelessness each year. For more information, go to

About the City of Des Moines
The City of Des Moines: Iowa’s capital city and local government servicing more than 217,000 residents, 51+ neighborhoods, over 4,000 acres of parkland and 81 miles of trails. The City of Des Moines stands to be a financially strong city with exceptional city services, fostering an involved community in a customer friendly atmosphere. Visit DSM.cityFacebook and Twitter for more information.