Better Together

By Kellye Crocker

Thank you, Paul Turner and Meals from the Heartland, for making our community better—and inspiring us to do the same.

For those who missed it, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines held its annual lunch May 12 and presented the fourth annual Better Together Awards. The awards honor “social capital”—defined as the ability to connect and collaborate with diverse groups to make positive change.

Turner picked up the individual award, which includes $1,000 for the nonprofit of his choice. A community organizer for 27 years, Turner has spent the last 10 as lead organizer for A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS), helping the nonprofit grow from 12 to 29 members, which consist of diverse religious and advocacy organizations. At AMOS, Turner has focused on training Iowans for living-wage jobs, juvenile justice reform and mental health, among other issues. Learn more here.

Meals from the Heartland, which recently opened the Patty Cownie Center, its packaging center and warehouse in West Des Moines, received the $2,500 organizational award. With a goal of “empowering people to save the starving,” the group works with volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to package meals for people around the world and in Central Iowa. Last year, 33,000 volunteers packaged 8.7 million meals. For more information, click  here.

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