We need good news now more than ever. In the absence of events to promote around the metro in the coming weeks, we'll instead be sharing "Des Good News" - a round-up of inspirational, positive news stories. Read on to learn how central Iowans, groups and organizations are supporting one another and how you can get involved too. Subscribe here


Do-Gooders start Facebook group for central Iowans in need

The new Facebook group "Des Moines, How Can We Help?" seeks to connect those in need with those willing to give. The days-old group is already 4,000+ members strong, with everything from offers of extra diapers and tips on where to find essential supplies, to requests for delivery of bottled water to immunocompromised individuals. Join here

Central Iowa sports bar and restaurant giving away food to families in need

The Station on Ingersoll is making sure some of its food doesn’t go to waste during the spread of the novel coronavirus by donating to families in need of meals. The owners will offer the free service until they can open for regular business again. View the full Des Moines Register article here

#GrubforScrubs thanks frontline healthcare workers with food delivery

Des Moines resident, Zach Steele, started the "Grub for Scrubs" fundraiser to thank frontline healthcare workers battling the coronavirus. He's already purchased 51 food delivery gift cards and sent the codes to UnityPoint Health. Healthcare workers get a well-deserved thank you, and local restaurants get a boost as well. Learn more and contribute here

DSM Local Challenge

When times are tough, Greater Des Moines comes together. Even if it means we support each other at a distance. That’s why Catch Des Moines is partnering with The Greater Des Moines Partnership to launch the DSM Local ChallengeThrough this initiative, you're encouraged to share the goods and services you’ve purchased locally. This could be takeout orders, gift cards, merchandise, season passes, donations and more. Anything that shows support to our local economy today.  

The rules of the #DSMLocalChallenge are simple:

  1. Tell your friends who you're supporting and use the hashtag #DSMlocalchallenge.
  2. Post a photo of your purchases to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter showing how you support local small business.
  3. Tag three friends to do the same.

Check out 515local.com for a listing of local businesses offering flexible hours and services, and visit Catch Des Moines' local resource hub for regular updates, news, and how you can support local business in Greater Des Moines.

Prairie Meadows donates six pallets of food to DMARC

Always a champion for Polk County, Prairie Meadows donated six pallets of perishable food to Des Moines Area Religious Council after temporarily closing their facilities. Earlier that same day, Prairie Meadows also reopened their semi-truck parking lot for truck drivers traveling coast to coast. Learn more here.

Iowa Wild raises money for the Food Bank of Iowa

The Iowa Wild, along with Mercedes Benz of Des Moines and The James Law Firm, last week announced a community relief initiative with funds going to the Food Bank of Iowa. Learn more and donate here

The Foundry distillery in Valley Junction makes free hand sanitizer

Last week, the Foundry in Valley Junction began making sanitizer with their distilling equipment. Over the weekend, they gave out over 100 gallons of sanitizer. The community is invited back this week Thursday, March 26 - Saturday, March 28 from noon - 6 pm to bring your container for a free refill. Watch The Foundry's Facebook page for updates.

Local companies donate with food rescue app

As business changes, local companies are doing their part to help. Last week, Iowa Events Center and The Hilton Garden Inn made large donations of unused food through Eat Greater Des Moines' Chow Bank food rescue app. Learn more about food rescue here

Virtual Tip Jar

Local service industry advocates are promoting a "Virtual Tip Jar." The initiative encourages the central Iowa community to tip your regular service industry professionals. Find servers, baristas and bartenders to virtually tip here.

Rob Sand raises funds to buy meals for Iowans in need 

Outside of his official capacity as State Auditor, Rob Sand has generously given up a month of his salary and raised money for a $10,000 (and growing!) fund to pay for meals for Iowans in need. Iowans can request a $20 reimbursement for meals purchased at local restaurants. Learn more on twitter or email the fund for more details.

Anawim Housing Asks for Help and Central Iowans Answer the Call

With nationwide shortages, Anawim Housing was having difficulty sourcing basic necessities for program tenants. Within hours of posting the call on social media for toilet paper, donations started showing up. Find other ways to support Anawim Housing or see current supply needs here

Griff Gives Back - Pet Food Drive

Griff, the live mascot for Drake University, is busy doing his part to help out. Griff is collecting pet food donations for the Pet Project Midwest, which helps families keep their beloved pets in times of crisis by providing support for medical care and pet supplies. Help Griff reach his goal of collecting 16,000 lbs of adult cat and dog food. Learn more here.

Healthy Choices Count 

With the ongoing disruption of our normal routines, the Healthiest State Initiative reminds us it's now more important than ever to prioritize our physical, mental and emotional health. To promote healthy habits, take the Healthy Choices Count challenge by posting a photo or video of yourself or your family participating in healthy habits, such as exercise or eating healthy foods on social media using the hashtag #HealthyChoicesCount. 

Community steps up in the face of canceled Girl Scout Cookie sales

Many small businesses (and small entrepreneurs) are facing slowed sales. The Girl Scouts are doing what they do best; getting creative and finding innovative ways to unload cookie inventory while supporting the community. There are many inspiring stories of gifts of girl scout cookies to first responders, Hy-Vee helping to sell inventory, and online "virtual cookie booths." Read more here.

Greater Des Moines businesses donate PPE for healthcare workers

In response to a request from the Iowa Department of Public Health, Kemin Industries, headquartered in Des Moines, has donated nearly 10,000 articles of personal protective equipment, including masks, safety glasses, gloves, safety suits and disposable lab coats to the department. Other businesses also made significant donations including Nationwide, DMACC and NCMIC. Learn more about PPE and homemade mask donations here

Buccaneers Give Back After Canceled Food Drives

WHO-TV: After the remainder of their season was canceled, along with several food drives, the Des Moines Buccaneers decided to help out the community and donated their concession stand inventory to the Urbandale Food Pantry instead.

Bed and Breakfast inspires Adel community to support healthcare workers

Big Blue Bed and Breakfast in Adel shared a generous offer on their Facebook page of free housing (stocked with groceries) for healthcare workers fighting the coronavirus to protect their families. Inspired by their action, several other Adel organizations stepped up to help cover costs and provide meals to first responders. Read more here.

Blank Park Zoo hosts lighted Zoo Loop

Last weekend, Blank Park Zoo invited the community to scoop their lighted Zoo Loop. The event welcomed thousands of visitors and helped raise funds for the nonprofit zoo. The fundraiser is ongoing while the zoo is temporarily closed. Learn more and donate here.

AHeinz57 offers free pet boarding for healthcare workers 

AHeinz57 Pet Rescue and Transport is offering free pet boarding for infected individuals who need to be hospitalized and for healthcare workers now putting in longer hours. AHeinz57 is also offering dog and cat food to anyone in the community who is having trouble making ends meet. Learn more here.

Cellular Advantage collects used phones and hotspots for homebound students

With students learning from home, Cellular Advantage seeks donations of used, working U.S. Cellular smartphones (or unlocked from other carriers), iPads/tablets and hotspots that will be reprogrammed and provided to students in need. Any donated phones will be provided to a new user at no cost for the device. Learn more here. 

Marriott Properties Spread Love and Hope

Marriott properties in downtown Des Moines and West Des Moines lit up hotel windows with heart shapes to honor frontline workers battling COVID-19. 

Des Moines Area Quilters Guild makes & donates thousands of masks

Des Moines Register: With the spread of the coronavirus, medical supplies are going fast, especially masks at hospitals. But the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild has already emerged as a huge helper. The group is one of Broadlawns Medical Center’s largest resources for hand-sewn masks. 

Des Moines Performing Arts Launches Project joy

In the midst of the unknown, it is important to remember the power of the arts and remember we are not alone. Follow Des Moines Performing Arts on social media for content demonstrating the joy arts and culture bring to our lives, from playlists to virtual performances and favorite musical covers. Help spread the joy by sharing how the arts brighten your day using #projectjoy

Share your story

We are living in historic times. The West Des Moines Historical Society invites you to share your story of how COVID-19 has affected daily life. From work closures to children home from school, from trips to the grocery store and social distancing, everything is history that needs to be recorded. Share your story.

Chillin' for Charity

The Iowa Events Center is selling limited-edition tickets for a $10 minimum donation. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to The Polk County Health Department to aid their fight against COVID-19. The Iowa Events Center is also hosting "Local Music Monday" on the #VirtualStageDSM. Visit iowaeventscenter.com to learn more. 

Mainframe Studies Launches Artists Relief Fund

Mainframe Studios, a nonprofit providing permanent affordable workspace to artists of all disciplines, has launched a relief fund for its artist tenants. 100% of contributions will go to artists in need to help pay for rent, utilities and other expenses so that they can continue creating. Learn more here.

Sambetti's and Grumpy Goat offer free take-and-bake pasta meals

Sambetti's and Grumpy Goat Tavern have teamed up to offer free take-and-bake pasta meals for central Iowans in need. They've already given out over 1,000 pasta dinners. Anyone needing a free meal can pick one up daily between 5 - 7 pm; they are also offering a limited takeout menu and accepting free-will donations. Learn more here. 

Gino's Italian Foods gives out 1,000 meal kits

In honor of their 50th anniversary, Gino's - a local food manufacturer, gave out meals kits filled with pasta, sauce, salad and their famous salad dressing. Learn more here.

In For Lunch

Catch Des Moines is pleased to partner with Downtown DSM USA to promote "In For Lunch," a new virtual event series supporting local musicians and restaurants. Take up the #DSMLocalChallenge and enjoy local music from the comfort of home. In for Lunch is free to participate and will be held from Noon – 1 p.m. every Thursday from April 23 through May 14. Find local restaurants to support here

dsm Magazine launches CultureCast

Check out dsm Magazine's new podcast, CultureCast featuring conversations with Greater Des Moines leaders, touching on arts and culture, food and dining, style and design, philanthropy, and more. dsm CultureCast videos highlight similar topics, brought to you by local organizations and businesses. Listen to CultureCast episodes. 

Civic Music Association announces "Get Music, Get Happy Hour" series

Join the Civic Music Association for livestream concerts to end your week on a positive note on Fridays at 6 p.m. This Friday, April 24 you can enjoy Johnny Gandelsman, on solo violin on Facebook live. Learn more and view the performance schedule here.

Iowa's Best Virtual Animal Experiences

Forbes: Being stuck indoors for long stretches of time can become frustrating, especially for those living in large urban centers with no backyards or nearby parks to stroll through. In these trying times, organizations across the country are utilizing technology to alleviate this stress, holding workshops and livestreams focusing on the great outdoors and the creatures that call it home. One state in particular, Iowa, has a wealth of parks, aquariums, and museums offering virtual experiences to hold us over until we can roam freely once again.

Spreading cheer with balloons

As a way to spread joy in the community during the time of quarantine, Balloon Bar DSM is accepting nominations for families or employers in the Greater Des Moines area to receive a surprise balloon garland for #balloonbubblesdsm. Learn more and submit nominations here.

Looking forward to the Iowa State Fair

We're all looking for positivity, and the Iowa State Fair is something positive to look forward to over the next few months! In what positive ways has the Iowa State Fair changed your life? Or what's your favorite Iowa State Fair memory? Send your #FairStrong submissions to info@iowastatefair.org and your story might end up on the Iowa State Fair's social media!

Raygun supports local

Famed local t-shirt shop, Raygun, has created a shirt encouraging supporting local. Use code DSMP8 for a discount and order your other #CovidCasual gear - a portion of sales will benefit local food banks. Buy yours here.

DART partners with local small businesses

When faced with a lag in supply chains, DART turned to local businesses to help keep employees safe. Denher Distillery in Clive was able to quickly fill a large hand sanitizer order for DART ensuring they had sanitizer for staff and high-traffic locations at DART Central Station and the bus barn. Through social media, DART was able to contact a local seamstress at Gretchen Bohling Designs and order hundreds of masks for its staff. Learn more here.

Crush the Curve - Test Iowa Initiative

The more Iowans can work together to crush the curve in the spread of COVID-19, the sooner we can get back to traveling and experiencing Greater Des Moines! Governor Reynolds announced the Test Iowa initiative to expand testing. The assessment informs Iowans of their current health status, whether or not they should get a COVID-19 test, and instructions on how to get tested. Governor Reynolds kicked off the #TestIowaChallenge and encourages all Iowans to go to TestIowa.com to complete the assessment. 

Elder Corp. partners with local restaurants to giveaway meals to Iowans in need

To support both local businesses and the community, Edler Corporation, an excavation company based in Pleasant Hill, partnered with Great Caterers of Iowa and Baratta's to give away 1,200 meals to Iowans in need. Learn more

Central Iowans are hiking more...

According to Google's COVID-19 Community Mobility Report, Central Iowans are exploring nature much more than usual. Parks use (state and national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens) is up almost 200% in Polk County. Check out the report here.

...And reading more!

Des Moines Public Library: During March, checkouts of electronic books from the DMPL jumped 25%, and more than 750 new users accessed the library’s eBooks and audiobooks. Streaming video use jumped 60% in the last month, and DMPL issued more than 1,000 new digital cards and helped users reactivate scores of old ones.

Iowa Culture Coffee Break

Need a break? Join the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs at 3 p.m. every weekday for an #IowaCultureCoffeeBreak on Iowa Culture's Facebook page. Watch live programming featuring Iowa artists, musicians, museums and more – and they're taking suggestions! 

Dream Now, Visit Later: Explore Iowa from Home

There are plenty of ways to explore and discover new things from the comfort of home. From online museum tours to family-friendly educational materials to explore the outdoors, Travel Iowa shares fun ways to virtually visit.  

Smash Park Serves Local

Help support local charities like Children & Families of Iowa, Food Bank of Iowa, and Meals for the Heartland with Smash Park's new Serve Local program, which automatically donates a percentage of all your purchases. Learn more here

Griff hosts a drive-by birthday party

Drake University's live mascot and Des Moines' hometown dog, Griff, hosted a drive-by birthday party to celebrate his golden birthday. In lieu of gifts, Griff's only request was for well-wishers to share donations to fill the free little pantry on campus. Griff collected goods to feed many neighbors. See more adorable event pictures here.

Wells Fargo Arena - All In This Together

The Iowa Events Center and Wells Fargo Arena are doing their part to share sports and concert memories while their doors are closed. Join them for “Local Music Monday” as they bring live music to the comfort of your home. Learn more here.

New Life for Varsity Theater

Business Record: The Varsity Theater, located directly east of Drake University, is described as the Des Moines area’s oldest, single-screen, independently-owned movie house. The Des Moines Film Society plans to buy the Theater, conduct renovations and re-open as a first-run cinema showing artistic, foreign-made and specialty films.

Celebrating Iowa High School Senior Student-Athletes

IGHSAU has launched a virtual campaign to recognize and celebrate the Class of 2020 throughout the month of May. You're invited to share photos, graphics, or videos of your senior athlete using #IAHSSeniors and #IASeniorSpeeches. View senior features here

IPR Hosts Tunesday

In an effort to support local musicians and keep the music community engaged during this unprecedented time, IPR is hosting a weekly live concert series every Tuesday night call #IPRTunesday. Stream the performances from the comfort of your couch at iowapublicradio.org at 6 p.m.  

Iowa Cubs to offer video board ConGRADulations messages to Class of 2020

The Iowa Cubs want to help celebrate 2020 Graduates like never before! Families looking for a unique way to recognize students can purchase a package to have the graduate's picture and personalized message displayed on the Principal Park video board through May 29th. Learn more here.

Living History Farms Celebrates 50th Anniversary, Reopens June 1

All month long, join Living History Farms for a virtual celebration of its 50th Anniversary! Enjoy new behind-the-scenes videos of their staff taking care of the farms, view the museum collections online, and keep the kids busy with learning activities to do at home. Learn more.   

Blank Park Zoo Reopens with New Safety Policies

Blank Park Zoo reopens this weekend with Friday and Saturday reserved for Zoo members and Sunday opening to the general public. All visitors will need to reserve a timed-ticket in advance at BlankParkZoo.com. Additionally, the Zoo has created a new one-way loop through the facility, and all visitors are strongly encouraged to wear a mask.

Mainframe Studios Announces "In the Air" Happy Hour Series

Mainframe Studios will host its first "In The Air," virtual gathering this afternoon. Attendees will hear from Mainframe Studios director, Siobhan Spain, and Rachel Buse, artist and ArtWeek 2020 organizer, and then join a breakout room with local artists sharing insights about their creative process. Learn more here

Des Moines Corporate Games Announces Virtual Challenge

The 5th year of the Des Moines Corporate Games is now the Virtual Challenge featuring virtual versions of familiar events, like the Fitness Walk, and new events such as "Learn and Eat." Webinars will be offered through area partners including Des Moines Parks and Recreation and the Greater Des Moines YMCA. Over 70 companies have registered to participate for 2020. Learn more here

Des Moines Performing Arts Offers New Virtual Summer Camps

DMPA offers young people the opportunity to explore the performing arts—and this year is no exception. Eight virtual classes and camps will be offered including: Tiny Tales, Theater in a Box, and Improv Online! The experiences will serve preschoolers through college-age students. Learn more here

Free Food for Iowans

Outlets of Des Moines is teaming up with Gino’s Italian Foods to host a drive-up meal kit distribution on Saturday from 11 am - 1 pm. Gino’s will distribute 1,000 make-at-home meal kits, first-come, first-served at the Altoona outlets. Learn more

Please help amplify these positive stories on social media using the hashtag #DesGoodNews. Have a "Des Good News" story to share? Please reach out to alex@catchdesmoines.com