Iowa City Free Lunch Newsletter                                                                                          Summer 2021
FLP News
Goodbye and Hello
We want to wish a fond farewell to Jama Lidral, our Director of Kitchen and Volunteer Operations, whose last day will be Friday, July 30th. Jama has kept Free Lunch going in uncertain times and her hard work has been integral to the growth and continued survival of this organization. She will be well missed and we thank her for everything she has put into the Free Lunch Program. 
Diane Platte will be finishing her AmeriCorps term and taking her place as our new Director of Kitchen and Volunteer Operations starting in August!
We also wish all the best to Lori Dawson, our Director of Administrative Operations, who had to resign due to a personal family matter. We are thankful for all of Lori's excellent work during her tenure at the Free Lunch Program. 
Finally, our new Director of Administrative Operations, Kai Kiser, started July 6th and we are glad to welcome them aboard!
COVID-19 Safety Update
In light of the changes to COVID guidelines, our plan is to reopen the dining room on October 1st 2021. The directors and the FLP board have started working on putting the pieces in place in order to make that happen. 
Eventually, we will need some extra help cleaning and preparing the dining room. If you would like to be a part of that effort, send an email to and we will update you when we have a cleaning date!

Veggie Update
We have started receiving fresh produce from GROW Johnson County Farm and the Iowa Gleaning Network. Iowa Gleaning Network is an AmeriCorps Program housed by Table-to-Table that harvests and distributes extra produce from local farms. Teams should feel welcome to incorporate these weekly veggie deliveries into meals!
To find out about the veggies we get in during a given week, email Diane at
Find out more about GROW Johnson County Farm here
Find out more about the Iowa Gleaning Network here
Community Update
The Free Lunch Program recently joined the Unite Iowa Network, a virtual community of health and social service providers. Some other local organizations include DVIP, Salvation Army, Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County Johnson County Aging Services, and United Way. We are glad to join this effort to weave a stronger community network. 

Learn more about the Unite Iowa Network here
Goodbye from Jama
After consulting with Diane and Kai, I will resign as Co-Director effective the end of this month, July, 2021.  I cannot thank all of you enough for your dedication to FLP.  I have forged great friendships over the years with FLP volunteers and am grateful to each and every one of you!!  The program is in good hands with Diane and Kai. I’d like to just quietly leave and lock the door behind me (and make sure the ovens are off :)).

Diane will be responding to emails via the account.

All My Best,
Say Hi to Diane!
There are so many things I love about working at Free Lunch, but one of my favorite things is getting to know the volunteer teams. I love seeing the diversity of ways teams work together and get the job done -- it keeps the kitchen work fresh and interesting every day!
Get to know Kai

Kai Kiser comes to this organization after a decade of volunteer and professional work in the nonprofit world, most recently as Basic Needs Coordinator and Food Bank Supervisor at CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank. Kai is excited to use their experience in organizing, community relations, and volunteer management to bring more visibility to FLP throughout the community and work to expand programming and fundraising initiatives in the future. Outside of work, Kai is an artist and writer with two loving significant others, a giant, dog, and far too many cats. 
Introducing Recurring Donations
Increase your impact by setting up automatic monthly donations! By becoming a recurring donor, you would help create a solid foundation for the Free Lunch Program to continue serving free, accessible meals no matter the circumstances. Click the images below for PayPal links and check the box next to "make this a monthly donation".
$5 provides disposable silverware for one day
$15 provides coffee for one week
$25 provides milk or juice for one day's lunch
$50 buys 1,000 pounds of food from the HACAP regional food bank
Volunteer Spotlight
The Amana Church Society after an afternoon serving 95 lunches!
The Amana Church Society began coming to FLP 26 years ago, bringing eighth graders from Clear Creek Amana Jr. High as part of a service learning project. These days, they've evolved into a collaboration between two churches, coming together through their similarities and differences to help our community. 

We talked to team leaders Betsy and Kathy, here's some of what they had to say:

"We made noodles one time...and the student said:  'I'm going home and I'm making this for my mom for supper tonight!'"

"Almost every time, at least one or more diners would say 'thank you for making a meal'...and the kids, they just lit up that an an adult said thank you to them. To have them understand that people appreciated what they did, I think, was a really exceptionally good experience for them."

"Choices are what make you who you are, that's the last thing. Someone has taken everything else away from these people and the last thing they get to decide is what they want to eat or not eat when they come here. That's what we honor."

"Our approach has always been that, when you come to eat food, the aromas of the food are part of the experience. That's what makes you feel like you've come home." 
Did You Know . . . 
The Free Lunch Program has continued to serve meals daily, Monday through Saturday, during the entire pandemic? Because of this, nearly 32,000 meals were served in 2020 to members of our community.  This service continues today, and your support during this difficult time is invaluable.

Please consider a donation to FLP.
  • $15 provides coffee for one week.
  • $25 provides milk or juice for one day's lunch.
  • $50 buys about 1,000 pounds of food from the HACAP regional food bank.
Donations can be made through PayPal on our website or by check to FLP, 1105 S. Gilbert Ct. #100, Iowa City 52240.
Donate to FLP
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