Immigrants, Refugees and New Residents Invited to Free Meal, Resource Fair for Welcoming Week

Published 9/11/2023 9:33:42 AM

Immigrants, Refugees and New Residents
Invited to Free Meal, Resource Fair for Welcoming Week


For immediate release:
Sept. 11, 2023

DES MOINES – Polk County, in partnership with Des Moines Water Works, will host a free meal and resources fair in honor of central Iowa’s immigrant and refugee communities during Welcoming Week.


“We want to bring together people from different backgrounds to share a meal together,” said Keshia Fields, Diversity, Inclusion and Organizational Development Specialist for Polk County Human Resources. “This event is a space to welcome everyone as they are and to learn about one another.”


The event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Sept. 14 at the Northwest Community Center, 5110 Franklin Ave. in Des Moines. Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority (DART) is offering free bus rides to the event for those who scan the QR code on the attached flyer. There will be numerous food trucks offering free meals, as well as a resource fair with information about various organizations and community services. Picnic blankets will be given free of charge to keep for attendees to sit outdoors and enjoy the event, which includes musical entertainment and dancing.


The Polk County Board of Supervisors declared Sept. 8-17 as Welcoming Week in Polk County to celebrate the diversity and inclusivity in our community and to promote the importance of welcoming individuals of all backgrounds and cultures to Polk County.


Polk County Board Chair Tom Hockensmith says, “Polk County prides itself in serving a diverse community. We are committed to providing a welcoming environment to people of all backgrounds, races, religion and sexual orientation. The community resource fair is a great opportunity to celebrate that diversity and learn about various resources that are available to make all who call Polk County home feel welcome.”


Des Moines Water Works is a partner for this year’s event and will provide free water and water bottles for attendees. DMWW is Iowa’s largest drinking water utility and provides safe, clean drinking water to 600,000 central Iowans.


“We are excited to be involved and to use this opportunity to engage with members of our community to highlight the quality, safety and benefits of tap water,” said Ted Corrigan, CEO and General Manager of Des Moines Water Works. “We know from surveys and focus groups, as well as studies from academia and the drinking water industry, that immigrant and refugee consumers may drink bottled water instead of tap water. We want to learn more and better understand how we can convey the safety of tap water and the financial and environmental benefits for those customers who consume it over bottled or kiosk water.”


Welcoming Week is an initiative created by Welcoming America, a nonprofit leading a movement of developing inclusive communities that become more prosperous when they ensure everyone belongs, including immigrants.





For more information, contact:
Keshia Fields, Diversity, Inclusion and Organizational Development Specialist

Polk County Human Resources



About Polk County
Serving a diverse Central Iowa community, Polk County is among the nation’s most innovative public institutions. We bring together creative leaders, collaborative organizations and key resources to empower our communities and make life better for all people in Polk County.

About Des Moines Water Works

Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) is a regional water utility serving the citizens of Des Moines and surrounding communities (approximately 600,000 people). DMWW is an independently operated public utility with a commitment to leading, advocating and investing today and in the future to deliver water you can trust for life.