When we started Kids Cafe we just wanted to provide 19 healthy meals and some fun activities to local kids that could use them. As we go into our 4th summer of Kids Cafe we are absolutely blown away by the positive response and generosity of our community. Thank you for believing in us, the children we serve and our mission.  What we have been able to accomplish together is nothing short of amazing, and we are so grateful for your support.

Altoona Kids Cafe, and the other programs of what is now SWERVE OUTREACH, is truly a collaboration of the best of us. It’s bigger than all of us. It’s not one person, or one business or one church–it’s not even one city. It’s an entire community of people, churches, businesses, schools, community organizations, and cities recognizing a need and then filling it–caring about each other, and then taking action to help.

We encourage you to take a look at our donor page. We greatly appreciate all of the amazing people who care about the children in our community and have donated to our program. There would be no Kids Cafe without them. In the last six months we have received over $35,000 in donations, grants, and prizes and we want to publicly recognize the people, business and organizations and thank them for their large contribuitions.


Prairie Meadows has awarded SWERVE OUTREACH a $10,000 Prairie Meadows Community Betterment Grant for the transportation of our students to and from Altoona Kids Cafe for the 2017 Summer. We partner with Southeast Polk Comunity schools to bus over 100 students into our program from Altoona, Pleasant Hill, East Des Moines and new to this summer, Mitchellville. As our program grows, so does the cost of providing safe, quality transportation for our students. Thank you Prairie Meadows!


We would not be able to have Altoona Kids Cafe if it wasn’t for the Lutheran Church of the Cross. They have found many ways to support us over the last 4 years and as we continue to grow so does our relationship with LCC. They provide us a safe space, free of charge, to have Kids Cafe every summer, and an office for our volunteers to work out of. They donate their time in volunteering with us, they also donate backpack buddy meals, books, Crockpot Cooking Class supplies, school supplies, and much, much more. They also support us with monetary gifts. We recently received a check for $5,000 from their missional fund. This will provide over 1,4000 meals to students this summer. Thank you LCC!!!


If you’ve only just heard about Kids Cafe in the last couple months, it’s probably thanks to Altoona Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping, their awesome owners, Jeff and Nicole Essink, their amazing members, and the generosity of the company founder, Lance Farrell. On April 6, 2017, after a hard-fought March Madness-style Facebook voting battle, Farrell’s Extreme Bodyshaping presented Altoona Kids Cafe with a check for $5,000 as the winners of their Farrell’s Charity Bracket Challenge. The word around town in the month of March was “Vote for Kids Cafe” and you couldn’t get on Facebook without getting tagged and asked to vote and share if you live in Eastern Polk County–not to mention all of the press–a big THANK YOU to Megan Reuther, Randy Schumacher and Channel 13 News, as well a Jonathan Krueger and the Altoona Herald Index/Des Moines Register for sharing our story with the metro and helping us get the word out. We are so grateful for the shared passion that Jeff and Nicole Essink have for our mission and also for their partnership. They will also be donating their time and talent to us this summer by teaching some classes to our students at Kids Cafe. Thank you Jeff and Nicole!

Here’s the article from the Des Moines Register!

Here’s the WHO-TV News story!


Halfway through our first summer of Altoona Kids Cafe, it dawned on us that some of our students needed more support than the summer meals and activities we were providing. We knew that back-to-school time was just around the corner, and as mom’s ourselves we were very aware of the cost that comes with the purchasing of backpacks, school supplies and all of the needed items for students. We also knew that when kids show up for school without supplies, many times it’s the teachers that step up and buy supplies for their students. We don’t believe that teachers should have to fund their classrooms. We knew we could help.

So not only are we going into our 4th summer of Kids Cafe, but shortly following we will be going into our 4th fall of providing backpacks and school supplies to students in our community who need assistance. This is where the Southeast Polk Education Foundation comes in–they have generously awarded SWERVE OUTREACH (that’s us) $5,000  for the purchase of backpacks and school supplies for our “Tools for School” program. Thank you Southeast Polk Education Foundation!


One of our favorite things is when people hear about what we are doing at Kids Cafe, and they learn about some facet of our program that resonates with them and they say, “I want to help with that!” We LOVE when passion meets passion and good things happen. That’s how our partnership with Karl Chevrolet came about. We are so excited to announce that Karl Chevrolet will not only be funding the purchase of ingrediants for our Crockpot Cooking Class for our High School Class, they will also be sending people from their Commercial Sales Department to VOLUNTEER on Friday’s to help our high-schoolers learn the life-skill of crockpot cooking. Thank you Karl Chevrolet!


Sharon has supported Altoona Kids Cafe and SWERVE OUTREACH since the very beginning. She’s been a quiet champion of the youth in our community for a long time supporting programs that improve their health and provide them with educational opportunities. She supported the original Kids Cafe and Central Place–and when that went away, she continued to find ways to give, including Altoona Kids Cafe. Sharon donates her time and talent by volunteering with us every summer, throughout the summer and is best known for her warm smile and greeting students when they walk in the door and at meal times. She is also an annual donor, and this spring she donated $10,000 to SWERVE OUTREACH. THANK YOU SHARON!!! We look forward to working with you again this summer!

Would you like to be a part of serving the children in our community through SWERVE OUTREACH? We’d love for you to join us. Find out more by visiting our Volunteer or Partner with Us page.