A groundbreaking ceremony launching the expansion of Catholic Charities’ St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter was held Monday, March 22 at 10:30 a.m. at 1535 11th Street in Des Moines.
The groundbreaking ceremony included a blessing from Bishop Richard E. Pates, president of Catholic Charities, words from Nancy Galeazzi, executive director, Tom Moreland, CEO of St. Jude Enterprises and architect Doug Sharp from BSB Design. Catholic Charities Board of Directors, staff, guests at St. Joseph Shelter and other community members were present at the groundbreaking.
St. Joseph is the only emergency shelter in Polk County that keeps the entire family unit together and is currently able to shelter five families at one time. Thanks to a $1 million dollar gift from St. Jude Enterprises led by CEO Tom Moreland, the updated shelter will double the capacity as well as increase quality of services through handicap accessible rooms and other major updates. In addition to the gift from St. Jude Enterprises, the expansion project will also be supported by an I-JOBS grant as well as contributions from the community.
“We are so grateful for Tom’s support of the work we do at St. Joseph’s. His gift will enable us to improve the quality of services to our guests and help more families in crisis,” said Galeazzi, executive director of Catholic Charities.
Led by an Ad Hoc Shelter Expansion Committee, the expansion plans include an upgraded kitchen, expanded dining room, additional bedrooms, handicap accessibility and a play room. The Ad Hoc committee includes Tom Moreland, Doug Sharp, Gerry Neugent, Marty Walsh, Nancy Anstoetter, Dan Buscher, Paul Rupprecht, Jerry Spaeth, Patrick Nestvedt and Nancy Galeazzi.
The groundbreaking ceremony is the start of a six month renovation of the home that has housed homeless families since 1991. Since that time St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter has provided homeless families with a safe, dignified place to stay. Services include emergency housing for a limited stay to homeless families, three meals a day, laundry facilities and case management to assist guests in returning to self-sufficiency. Last year, St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter served 80 families, providing shelter and services to 136 children and 125 adults.
Additional funds and support are needed to help furnish the new shelter, which relies solely on donations for items like furniture, linens, bedding and personal care items. Donations to the shelter expansion project can be sent my mail to: Catholic Charities, Giving Tree-St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter, 601 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA, 50309 or online at www.CatholicCharitiesDM.org