The church with the red doors stands at the corner of 8th and College just as it has since 1911. The boys and girls who come through those doors know nothing of the building’s rich history. They only know that today they will find caring smiles, breakfast, and a safe place to play with friends. That is not always true in an environment where poverty can lead to food insecurity, homes where parents are not always available, and worries about safety.
Trinity United Methodist church (Trinity) is the cornerstone of a community that has weathered changes from suburban wealth to inner city strife. In the midst of a neighborhood facing the complex issues of poverty, new immigrants, mental health, substandard housing, and racial tension, the church remains a trusted place of hospitality and safety, as well as an outreach center where community partners work together to serve the needs of the people.
Children and Family Urban Movement (CFUM), Las Americas, and other community groups come to Trinity to provide educational opportunities, meals to those in need, all manner of celebrations, concerts, advocacy work, and a variety of community betterment efforts.
Behind the red doors is one of the most efficient single-site providers of social, educational and nutritional services in Iowa. Over three hundred people pass through Trinity’s doors each day. More than 20 community programs create a beehive of activity from 6 am to 8 pm most days, including multi-lingual resource center, before and after school programs, English classes for immigrants, preparation for citizenship, support groups and many others.
Trinity started a breakfast program in 1968 to provide children with a warm meal and a safe place to stay before school. The program continues today under the direction of CFUM. The meal program has been expanded through the years to now feed hungry adults as well. More than 120 churches and organizations bring supper to the Trinity dining room six nights per week. In 2013, over 54,000 meals were served.