• By Degrees Foundation

Organizations come together to package meals for Harding Middle School families

Des Moines, IA – The Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation has joined with The Outreach Program, the Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC), and Full Court Press, Inc. to embark on a pilot program providing 1,300 meal packs to students and families of Harding Middle School. The meals, which include a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner serving a family of five, were packed by employees of Full Court Press, Inc. and volunteers of the partner organizations during a large packaging event at the Iowa Taproom on Monday, December 4. Every other week of the spring 2018 semester, 100 family meal packs will be distributed to Harding students with the most need.

Harding Middle School, one of the largest and most diverse middle schools in the state, serves nearly 800 students, all of whom qualify for free breakfast and lunch. The Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation, which motivates and empowers children from low-income communities to reach their education and career goals, has followed its original Findley Elementary students into Harding, expanding its programming to include the entire middle school. As part of this long-term approach of fostering a culture of college and careers and reducing barriers to education, the Foundation aims to assist families who experience food insecurity – a large deterrent to educational focus and attainment.

DMARC and The Outreach Program were instrumental in bringing all partner organizations together. The Outreach Program supplied food, equipment, staff, and transportation for the packaging event. The event was fully funded by Full Court Press, Inc., known for its downtown Des Moines restaurant staples (such as the Iowa Taproom, Buzzard Billy’s, and Fong’s Pizza, among others). Employees of Full Court Press, Inc. joined with volunteers from the other partner organizations to package the meals at the Iowa Taproom. The DMARC Food Pantry Network will store and transport the meals to Harding Middle School throughout the 13-week program, and will provide additional snacks in the family packs as the effort gains steam.

“We are excited to partner with local organizations who share our desire to help local families,” I Have a Dream Program Director Heather Isaacson said. “We hope this program sets a precedent for other organizations who wish to alleviate food insecurity in our own community.” The partner organizations intend to grow this program so that more families and more schools can benefit from consistent, nutritious meals. If you are interested in joining with this effort, please contact the Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation or The Outreach Program.


We recognize the transformational impact incremental changes can make on a student’s life. Partnering with entire schools, we work to increase high school graduation and postsecondary readiness rates while engaging community partnerships to uplift students, families, and whole neighborhoods.


mailing: PO Box 41070

Des Moines, IA 50311




You'll receive quarterly newsletters, event updates, and program announcements

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon

© 2020 By Degrees Foundation