Catholic Charities of Des Moines (Faith-Based)

Catholic Charities Diocese of Des Moines flyer of services


Mission: Because our mission is based on Catholic Social Teaching, we are compelled to help ALL in need, regardless of religion, race, gender, or demographic. We partner with many other civic and religious organizations in the area to complement our services and strive for well-rounded care for those we serve. Catholic Charities serves the people of southwest Iowa when they find themselves in need of help. From basic needs of food and shelter, to empowerment programs that lead to housing, employment, and more. Professional counseling services help to sort out barriers that can keep people from being their best. Educational programs build client skills to help them thrive in the future. We continue to adapt to the needs in our communities so that we are offering services relevant to clients. At the base of it all, we build all of these services on the basis of Catholic Social Teaching, which is focused on social justice, dignity, and respect.

Location: Des Moines (also the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program is located in Council Bluffs) (55 miles from Grinnell College)

Needs: We have many opportunities across our various programs. We have a food pantry, emergency family shelter, refugee resettlement program and a domestic violence shelter in Council Bluffs.

Some volunteer opportunities include but are not limited to:

  • Cooking a meal for the family shelter, organizing garage at family shelter
  • Watering garden at food pantry and helping sort through food donations at pantry
  • Apartment set ups for refugees, driving refugees to their appointments sorting donations at CC warehouse.
  • Emergency Family Shelter, Join our crew of staff and volunteers as we maintain our 24/7 Emergency Family Shelter.

Basic housework, cleaning, and preparing meals are just a few of our volunteer roles. We are always in need of help in this life-changing facility!

  • Food Pantry – Volunteers at the Food Pantry may assist clients through the choice food pantry, pick up food donations, distribute daily donations, and assist with cleaning throughout each shift. Shifts vary with need.
  • Refugee Resettlement – Help refugees arrive to a welcome environment. Assist in setting up apartments, helping in our office, sorting donations in our warehouse, teaching basic western culture, training a family to use the bus system, and more!
  • Donation Collection – Groups, businesses, schools, and more can do a special collection for Catholic Charities. Call to ask about current needs, and how we can help make your collection a success!
  • Special Events and Fundraising – Volunteers for events and fundraising help us raise awareness, promote and plan events, decorate for parties, solicit auction items, and more! Shamrocks & Shenanigans is our feature event in Des Moines. It includes a silent auction, food, music, and fun & games.
  • In Council Bluffs, the Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Program – Our offices in Council Bluffs are dedicated to assisting survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in the nine counties that make up the southwest corner of Iowa. Volunteer on the frontlines with our 24-hour crisis line and hospital support staff, collect materials needed to run the shelter, help with special events, and more.

Catholic Charities helps those in need in southwest Iowa 24-hours a day, seven days per week. With that kind of schedule, we need the help of volunteers to support this ambitious mission.



  • One-time events: yes
  • Ongoing: yes
  • Groups possible? yes

When is service needed: There are needs ALL of the time. Can vary by the needs of community; for example, the refugee resettlement was very busy around this time last year since they got an influx of Afghanistan refugees. They have all been settled now but things can change quickly based on how many and who our programs are helping.

Number of hours: 1 to 2 hours a week or once a month – flexible hours, as much or little as is possible for the volunteer.  Volunteer opportunities are generally Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to coincide with Catholic Charities office hours. Some weekend opportunities are available as well.


  • In-person: yes
  • Hybrid in-person/virtual possible: no
  • Fully virtual possible: no


Prerequisites: A background check, an online course on sexual assault, and VIRTUS training will be necessary for volunteer opportunities with clients.  All forms are available on the website.  VIRTUS is the brand name that identifies best practices programs designed to help prevent wrongdoing and promote “rightdoing” within religious organizations. The VIRTUS programs empower organizations and people to better control risk and improve the lives of all those who interact with the Church.

Background check required: Yes

Equipment/logistics needed: No need to bring anything to volunteer unless bringing donations or meal for family shelter or driving to pick up food or refugee (in that case just their car). Everything they need will be supplied.


Training supplied: Orientation, sexual assault, and VIRTUS training is supplied.


How to apply: Apply by e-mailing Emily Klisares at

Contact: Emily Klisares, (515) 237-5027 


Operation information: Adoption Search Services, Counseling, Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault, Emergency Family Shelter, Food Pantry, & Refugee Services

Mailing address: 601 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309, (also the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program is located in Council Bluffs)

If you are with this organization and need to update your listing, please access our update form on this page: For Community Partners