Bidwell Stories

Bidwell Riverside Center helps thousands of Iowans each year. 

Browse through some of their stories below to see what Bidwell means to them. 


December 2019: Trinidad has been coming to Bidwell for quite some time. He only uses the pantry when he needs it most because sometimes “there just isn’t enough money.” He also says that he is so thankful for the toy pantry so that he can provide a good Christmas for his family. Trinidad says that he lets all of his friends and family know about Bidwell!

Trinidad has been a long time client of Bidwell Riverside’s food and clothing pantry, and utilizes the pantry when he needs it most because sometimes there just isn’t enough money to feed his family. During Christmas time he is especially thankful for Bidwell’s toy pantry because it allows him to provide a normal Christmas for his family. Trinidad has had such a positive experience at Bidwell, he recommends our services to all his friends and family, because he knows we will treat them with the kindness and respect we would give to our own friends and family.

Pandemic Impacts Maria

December 2020: For the past 4 years, Maria has worked in the mental health care industry and often referred her clients to Bidwell Riverside’s Food & Clothing Pantry when they needed some extra help. Maria frequently volunteered at Bidwell and donated food when she had some extra as a way to give back to the community. Then in March when the pandemic hit, Maria lost her job and was homeless with her 13-year-old daughter Isabella. Maria started coming to receive food and toiletries from Bidwell until she got back on her feet. Two weeks ago, she accepted a position in the mental healthcare industry!
Maria said she is incredibly grateful to those who donate to Bidwell, “You never know what those extra diapers will do for a family, or how a child will feel when they finally get to eat that name-brand cereal that they have been begging their parents for.”

Bernice's Bidwell Blessing

November 2020: Bernice first heard about Bidwell Riverside 3 or 4 years ago and has been coming to receive services every 10 days since then. She says that Bidwell has been a complete and total blessing, especially throughout the pandemic. Bernice works in nursing homes as a pianist. Since the nursing homes are all locked down due to COVID-19, she has lost her primary source of income. Because she comes to Bidwell to receive her monthly meal packages, she can spend less at the grocery store, ultimately saving money.

Pantry Client Now Dedicated Volunteer

October 2020: Michael first heard about Bidwell a year ago when he was transitioning out of homelessness and had his first apartment, and he came to the Bidwell Food & Clothing Pantry to find household items. When he was here, he noticed how friendly the staff was and how they treated every single client with dignity and respect. A couple months later, he decided he wanted to start volunteering to give back to the community who helped him on his journey to self-sufficiency, and he remembered how friendly everyone was at Bidwell. He started volunteering by stocking shelves in the Food & Clothing Pantry, and now he picks up food recovery a couple times a week from HyVee. “It’s amazing how many people it takes to run a place like Bidwell,” Michael said. “It takes a whole community – everyone that volunteers here, from the elderly ladies that work so hard, to the young guys who come help, to families who bring in donations, so many different people come together to make it happen. Everyone who works here is committed and dedicated – it’s so impressive and it makes you just want to keep coming back to help more.”

Child Development Center Family Feels Safe at Bidwell

October 2020: Pierre Triplett and Keisha Barnard had heard good things about Bidwell Riverside Child Development Center, and were looking for a different childcare for their two-year-old daughter, Malia. When Pierre and Keisha toured Bidwell, they saw an organized, well-kept, and clean environment with a positive energy, and soon Malia was enrolled and making friends.
Every child gets screened for developmental delays in speech, fine motor, and large motor areas within six weeks of enrolling by a therapist from Children’s Therapy Services. If it is determined that a need exists then the child will receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy right on site at Bidwell. This is very helpful for the parents because it doesn’t interrupt their day at work and the children have a lot of fun working with their therapist. One of the goals at Bidwell Riverside Child Development Center is to help children develop in all areas on a consistent trajectory and therapy helps with that goal.
It was determined that Malia needed speech therapy, and she began right away. After working with the speech therapist, her speech became more clear and easier to understand, and maybe the best part is that Malia seemed to feel more confident in herself.
When COVID-19 hit this year, Pierre and Keisha kept Malia at Bidwell because they knew that Bidwell kept a clean environment and they had confidence that the teachers and director would do what was necessary to keep their daughter safe. It’s important for parents and staff to feel safe and to keep our children learning, growing, and feeling cared for during this uncertain time. Many things can wait during this time of COVID-19, but a child’s development cannot.

1203 Hartford Avenue

Des Moines, Iowa 50315


Phone: 515-244-6251

Fax: 515-244-3815

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This institution is an equal opportunity provider.  To view our Nondiscrimination Statement, click here.