Iowa City Noon Kiwanis

Meeting every Tuesday at noon at the Iowa City Pizza Ranch.

Operating as usual


Judy’s passion has always been to find ways to bring nature back into communities. She is a founding member of Take a Kid Outdoors (TAKO) and serves as their Executive Director. Take A Kid Outdoors is a nonprofit, which is based in Johnson and Fayette Counties, that connects people with the natural world and promotes unstructured enjoyment of nature and the outdoors. TAKO offers at least one free event per month that engages people of all ages in outdoor fun. The group has sponsored everything from ice fishing, archery, star gazing, sledding, fishing to hiking and getting in the water. For her day job, she is a Principal and Senior Geomorphologist at Impact7G where she helps communities incorporate nature play areas by restoring streams and wetland and by utilizing a variety of outside the box funding sources and partnerships.


Zoom simulcast meeting (for those not able to attend in-person) at IC Pizza Ranch with Reverend Terry Landsgaard, an educator at Upper Iowa University and a member of the Elgin (IA) Historical Society, who spoke via Zoom about “The Tribes of the Turkey River”, which will be future exhibit of the Elgin Historical Museum. It was Terry’s presentation on Elgins’s early cultures and his passion for preservation of artifacts and stories that sparked on Society member to join him in exploring and collecting artifacts and recording stories about Elgin’s earliest peoples. Pioneers called the area Shinbone Valley because Native American remains would rise to the surface as the river flooded and then receded. It is estimated that there were 13 Native villages along the Turkey starting at the Mississippi and spreading east. Native people lived there at various times including the Sac & Fox, the Sioux, the Ho-Chunk and the Ioway. The U.S government relocated tribes from WI to IA to MN then to further west and south. Artifacts have been identified as being up to 10,000 years old.


Zoom simulcast meeting (for those not able to attend in-person) at IC Pizza Ranch with CPTs Keith and Michelle Graham, Salvation Army, who presented in-person. Keith told us that while they never completely shut down during Covid-19 that they did have a few individual volunteers who were out with Covid over the last two years. The Derecho hit the south end of the building and caused damage that was aggravated by mold that developed while repairs were on-going. Then in mid-January they had a water pipe freeze and they had standing water 2 inches deep throughout the north end of the building. Consequently, the chapel is used for storage of displaced items from that flood. He talked about continuing evening meals by having clients drive-through and pickup meal-to-go. The pantry continued by having items boxed up for pickup but transitioned from prepackaged boxed to filling orders to avoid waste when people didn’t like items they hadn’t ordered. He says the building and land are not ideal for their needs and purposes. They are in the thinking and studying phases before they launch a capital campaign for a new site of about 18,000 square feet and some green space for kids activities. [email protected]


Zoom simulcast meeting (for those not able to attend in-person) at IC Pizza Ranch with Kenan Todd, co-owner of Acorn Bluff Farms in Columbus Junction IA, who presented via Zoom on the story of their unique hog breed, the Mangalitsa Pork and how it has impacted their heritage farming business. Acorn Bluff Farms, owned and operated by brothers Kenan and Seth Todd, has been home to the Mangalitsa pigs since 2016. The pigs are descended from Hungarian Mangalita, which were the preferred pig of the royal Habsburg family in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, a constitutional monarchy and great power in Central Europe (modern day Carpathian Basin in Romania) between 1867 and 1918. The deeply flavored meat and high fat content produced from the pigs is unmatched, known as the Kobe beef of pork. "You can't fully understand it until you taste it," Kenan Todd said Tuesday adding that he fixes of Iowa thick-cut Mangalitsa pork chops seasoned with just a dash of cracked pepper and pink Himalayan salt cooked on a grill. They sell their pork nationwide from the farm, make local deliveries to customers including Big Grove Brewery in Solon and are awaiting approval to sell at the Cedar Rapids Farmer’s Market. [email protected]


Zoom simulcast meeting (for those not able to attend in-person) at IC Pizza Ranch with Chelsey Markle, Executive Director of The Arc of SE IA, who presented on what were the effects of Covid-19 on her agency. Because they provide services mostly on an hourly basis with clients in their homes and at workplaces they were impacted by not being able to go into those places or because their clients were not able to work. They regrouped and offered more services in-house while stressing downsizing, health screening, etc. They added more adult daytime activities and rearranged functional spaces on-site. Their Child Care Program shrank to 3 kids but has now regained to 26 out of their capacity of 30 based on staffing levels. They are utilizing federal Covid funds for an on-site addition on the south side of their building and are looking at acquiring nearby real estate for moving most of the administrative staff. They switched software that has made them more productive. They still are hampered by the Iowa Managed Care system being too slow and unresponsive. Their future focus is on the 3 R’s: recruiting, retention and revenue. [email protected]


Zoom simulcast meeting (for those not able to attend in-person) at IC Pizza Ranch with Chastity Dillard, Director of Development for Neighborhood Centers of JoCo, who presented on what her agency has been doing over the last year and what she anticipates in the future. Covid-19 forced them to do more via Zoom and less in-person. It caused them to work with clients to learn more about computers and how to use them. They continued to work with clients whose first language is not English (from many foreign countries) to help them obtain needed services. They formed new partnerships with other agencies and are looking to expand to other schools in the ICCSD. [email protected]


Frederick Newell, Executive Director of Dream City, gave us his annual update via Zoom because of staff shortages today. He said that Covid-19 has had a very serious impact on how his agency provides services. Instead of in-person large groups they are now working more one-on-one with youths. Their Fatherhood Support Group has gone entirely to Zoom and to podcasts. Their major fund granter is requiring them to concentrate on 4th-8th grade levels. Frederick says he and his other 4 staffers are all part-timers.


Don Perschau, a retired educator and a five year volunteer with AARP Fraud Watch Network, presented on avoiding fraud and scams. His advice is to not answer your landline unless you are positive that you know who is calling. He says screen your voicemail and then return the call. Doing so avoids letting the scammer know that a working number has been reached. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true. If the payment method is atypical it probably is a scam. If you feel rushed or threated, don't be intimidated. Don't open an unknown email or click in a link until you verify it first by phoning the sender. Government officials rarely call or contact you unless you called them first. If in doubt tell them you will call them back, then call their listed number. Don't engage scammers, just hang up.


In the last year, CommUnity has seen tremendous growth in many programs and built a foundation for continued growth in the near future. In February 2021, CommUnity's Mobile Crisis Outreach team moved to the GuideLink Center, a collaborative mental health access center, and began providing triage counseling for clients seeking crisis stabilization, medical detox, and sobering. The Mobile Crisis Outreach team also grew to include a Law Enforcement Liason embedded in the Iowa City Police Department. This new position dispatches with a specially trained officer in instances where crisis de-escalation is necessary. At the end of 2021, CommUnity also hired our fist youth-specific Mobile Crisis Outreach counselor, who works directly with the Iowa City Community School District and the Clear Creek Amana School District, and is working to establish relationships with other community organizations and practices.
In May 2021, CommUnity experienced a leadership transition as Becci Reedus retired after 13 years leading the organization. CommUnity's new Executive Director, Sarah Nelson, joined us from Foundation 2 Crisis Services in Cedar Rapids, and brings 20+ years of experience working in social services. Nelson's vision includes providing holistic service that helps to disrupt the cycle of poverty, and advocating fiercely for access to mental health services. Under her leadership, the organization saw continued growth in the second half of the year.
The Basic Needs program, which provides Housing and Utility Assistance (HUAS), Security Deposit Assistance, education and work enabling assistance, among other services, updated eligibility guidelines for financial aid which resulted in higher client satisfaction and increased requests. Johnson County residents can contact CommUnity Monday through Friday during normal business hours to request assistance with a rent payment or utility bill. The average HUAS assist amount increased from $100 to $150 per household during 2021. As we enter 2022, we're seeing unprecedented numbers of requests for financial assistance with rent payments, security deposit assistance, and utility bills. We originally estimated to distribute $40,000 in HUAS assistance in Fiscal Year 22, but are now on track to distribute $200,000. Similarly, the City of Iowa City's $70,000 contribution to the Security Deposit program was depleted in just the first three months of the year. We've received an additional $78,000 but expect to need more to fulfill the requests we're seeing now and through the end of the fiscal year.
Food Bank numbers are steadily increasing each month. From July 2021 through January 2022, we averaged 3,300 household visits to the Food Bank including mobile pantry and delivery service. As we approach the two year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson County residents are facing more financial strain than ever before. Inflation has caused increased prices at grocery stores and gas stations and higher cost of living. With stricter unemployment requirements, the end of child tax credits, and proposed changes to income taxes and SNAP benefits, our neighbors are suffering and are being forced to make difficult financial decisions just to eat.
Recent studies show that higher levels of food insecurity result in higher levels of anxiety and depression. This, coupled with social isolation caused by the pandemic, has Americans facing declining mental health. In July 2020, the FCC mandated a new 3-digit crisis line to provide better access to Americans in distress. Since then, CommUnity and other providers across the nation have been working toward the July 1, 2022 implementation date. For the next several months, we'll be hiring and training around 40 new staff to answer the expected 60% increase in contacts to 9-8-8, the new number for the National Su***de Prevention Lifeline.
This is a lot of information, but it can be summed up very simply: Our community is hurting, but there is something you can do to help. Volunteer your time with CommUnity, make a financial contribution, or advocate for better support for our neighbors in need. Thank you for the opportunity to share our updates with your Kiwanis Club! Please reach out if you have any questions.



Iowa City, IA

Opening Hours

12pm - 1pm

Other Nonprofit Organizations in Iowa City (show all)
Iowa City Learning Foundation Iowa City Learning Foundation
Iowa City, 52240

Innovative experiential education to increase your effectiveness in career, relationships with others, and your relationship with yourself. ICLF is a nonprofit volunteer organization, founded in 1998 and dedicated to providing learning for your life.

The Englert Theatre The Englert Theatre
221 E Washington St
Iowa City, 52240

We inspire positive community growth through the arts by presenting music, comedy, and dance in the last historic theatre in downtown Iowa City and across the community.

Baxter's Buddies Rescue Baxter's Buddies Rescue
Iowa City, 52240

108 River St
Iowa City, 52246

RVAP provides free, confidential, trauma-informed services to people affected by sexual violence & promotes social change through prevention education.

International Writing Program International Writing Program
430 N Clinton St
Iowa City, 52242

A "United Nations of Writers," IWP connects writers around the world through writing & cultural exchange. More at @UIIWP on Instagram & Twitter Follow IWP's Youth Programs on Facebook and Twitter @BTLwriters & on Instagram @btl_uiiwp

The UI Center for Advancement The UI Center for Advancement
One West Park Road
Iowa City, 52242

If you love the University of Iowa, we can keep you connected. We promote Iowa's commitment to excellence through engagement and philanthropy.

Greater Iowa City Area- Student Scholarships Greater Iowa City Area- Student Scholarships
325 E Washington St
Iowa City, 52240

GICA-SS is a local, volunteer-run, community-based scholarship foundation which has given over $165,000 to local Iowa City graduating seniors.

Iowa City Hospice Iowa City Hospice
1025 Wade St
Iowa City, 52240-6626

Iowa City Hospice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has brought compassionate care to eastern Iowa for more than 35 years.

Emma Goldman Clinic Emma Goldman Clinic
227 N Dubuque St
Iowa City, 52245

The Emma Goldman Clinic is a not-for-profit independent organization founded in 1973 by a group of women driven by feminist ideals.

Uptown Bill's Coffee House Uptown Bill's Coffee House
730 S Dubuque St
Iowa City, 52240

Coffee. Community. Conversation. Abilities Awareness.

Summer of the Arts Summer of the Arts
319 E. 1st Street
Iowa City, 52240

FREE, family-friendly entertainment in Iowa City all summer long. Enjoy arts and culture at its best during our many festivals and events.

Quill and Scroll Alumni Quill and Scroll Alumni
W111 Adler Journalism Bldg
Iowa City, 52242

Stay connected with Quill and Scroll and its alumni members.