Motivated by the love of Christ and seeing the value of every person, Community Outreach Ministries exists to eliminate food insecurity in Polk County by empowering our neighbors through relationships and long-term development.
In pursuing our mission, we see three primary drivers of food insecurity in our community:
Lack of access to or mismanagement of food
Lack of access to or mismanagement of money
Social disconnection and broken relationships
Each of our programs is designed to address one or more of those areas.
At the same time, as a Christian organization, we believe healing ultimately comes through an encounter with Jesus and the Gospel, and that our job as Christians is to not fixate on the needs of our neighbors, but to help them identify, grow, and use their existing gifts and assets to build their stability and serve their own neighbors.
Compassion is a God-given trait intended to move us closer to God's heart through care for others. However, compassion is also like a fire. When fire is rightly directed and contained, it is incredibly helpful as it provides, light, warmth, and transformation. But when it rages outside of those boundaries and gets out of control, it is incredibly destructive.
Likewise, compassion is immensely helpful and powerful when practiced rightly. However, unbridled compassion practiced without wisdom or boundaries can be just as destructive as a raging fire. If we are not careful, we can unintentionally do great damage both to those we are serving and to ourselves.
That is why we use the following principles to ensure we retain our compassion and retain the dignity and health of our neighbors.
Every human being is made in the image of God and has worth and value.
Every person is capable of and called to contribute to society.
Every person has strengths, skills, and assets that often have been overlooked or suppressed by society. We must call out these strengths and encourage our neighbors to use them in their solutions
We will not do for our neighbors what they can do for themselves
Systemic challenges are real and pose threats to stability and resilience. We will do our part to advocate and remove these barriers that our neighbors cannot remove on their own.
Our ultimate goal is to move our neighbors from Crisis to Stability to Resilience. We will not pursue perceived “solutions” that keep a person in chronic crisis instead of empowering them to move toward stability and resilience.
Successful poverty alleviation work will foster authentic communities for and with those in poverty.
Ultimately, true human flourishing can never be complete without the inner transformation that comes from experiencing and serving Jesus as King.
“What I most appreciate about COM is you can get the help that you need without being demeaned. Your dignity is preserved in how they help you and in their attitude.”
— Steve, client
“Thank you, it was just such a great feeling knowing people cared.”
— Josh, client