Kidz Haven


Summer 2015 was a winning change for Epworth’s Kidz Haven (KH) mission project.

Background information

In 2010 Epworth became one of four Iowa United Methodist churches to officially be designated as a “mission church.”  Among a few other things, this meant our congregation was charged with identifying a unique mission and becoming actively engaged in it.  Following three open-congregation meetings, ideas and suggestions were winnowed down to be in mission to our neighborhood’s underserved Harding Middle School (HMS) students, grades 6-8.

Original mission focus

From January 5, 2011 through May, 2015 Epworth volunteers hosted students from Harding from 1-4 p.m. to fill the empty hours on Wednesday afternoon, early-out DMPS days.  We provided life-enrichment sessions that included interactive learning opportunities, guest speakers, hands-on computer sessions in our computer lab, learn-to-cook activities, nutritious snacks and lots of fun and games in a caring, nurturing, safe-haven environment.

Because our original mission program was reaching a limited number of students, we slowly began to realize that our valuable mission resources should be better utilized.

Shuttering the Wednesday afternoon program during the summer of 2015 was a wise and insightful decision by the KH Board of directors.  Our new-clothing mission is reaching so many more students at Harding, making their lives less contentious and the hours they spend in school, more comfortable and pleasant.

New mission focus

Our mission now provides a sack of new clothing for selected HMS students.  Each large, brown grocery sack includes two each new Harding uniforms (black polo shirts and khaki trousers), basic underclothes including T-shirts, underwear and socks.  Each sack is topped off with a gallon-size, zip-lock bag containing personal grooming products.  Hygiene kits include roll-on deodorant, bar soap, shampoo, comb, toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss. It is our belief that gifting grooming items will encourage adolescent students to develop and maintain a daily routine of personal cleanliness for a lifetime.  A colorful label affixed to each hygiene kit identifies Epworth UMC’s mission program as provider.  (Note:  An ongoing supply of sanitary pads is provided to the school nurse to distribute, free of charge, to female HMS students as needs and emergencies arise.)

Mission’s annual goal:  Our annual goal is to provide clothing and grooming products for 10% of Harding students.

·     During the first year of this brand-new mission (school year 2015-16), Kidz Haven provided 35 sacks of new clothing, in addition to 40 official HMS sweatshirts that can be worn at school all day—total 75.

·     For the current school year (2016-17) we have provided 50 HMS sweatshirts, 50 roll-on deodorants and 17 sacks of new clothes (total 117………… and counting) for a Harding student population of 775.

Mission funding is provided by:

·    Annually renewable Matthew 25 Grant applications for $3,000, which provide operating revenue

·    Individual cash donations

·    Ongoing Epworth congregation contributions of personal hygiene and grooming products.

2016-17 Kidz Haven Directors include: 

  • ·    Jill Coons

    ·    Dick Davenport

    ·    Epworth Pastor Brenda Goodall

    ·    Marilyn Moberg

    ·    Anna Presler

    ·    Adam Stone, JD

    ·    Pastor Hugh Stone (Polk City UMC)

    ·    Linda Toth

    ·    Jan Meek, Chair/Secretary/Treasurer