116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Communities work as a team for this year’s Severson Charity Challenge
For the past 11 years, staff from the cities of Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, and University Heights, along with Johnson County, have competed in the Severson Charity Challenge to collect donations during the holiday season to benefit local charities.
North Liberty was the winner the 2021 Severson Challenge as employees more than doubled their previous contribution to the North Liberty Community Pantry, donating 146 pounds of food and nearly $1,000.
This year, which will be the final year of the challenge, the communities are making it a collective effort, according to a news release. Over the past 11 years, the Severson Challenge has raised nearly $90,000 in donations for local charities.
Last year, agencies involved in the challenge donated 2,050 items and nearly $2,900 directed to area food pantries — including CommUnity Food Pantry, North Liberty Community Pantry, The Center and Coralville’s BASP Families (Before and After School Programs)— as well as for Coralville’s utility bill assistance program, Cassie’s Mittens and the Joan Buxton School Children’s Aid Fund.
In November, elected officials from the four cities and county who represent the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County, voted to work together as one community and raise $9,000 to be shared equally between the three food pantries that serve residents of Johnson County, according to officials.
Linda Severson served as the Metropolitan Planning Organization’s human services coordinator from 1994 until her death in 2011. Severson was a “tireless and skilled advocate and her fingerprints” are on many of the programs and policies that serve Johnson County residents who have disabilities, suffer from mental illness, or face economic challenges.
The charity challenge was inspired by just one of the many acts of generosity and compassion that Severson was known for, such as each year she coordinated Iowa City’s holiday donation drive collecting essential items for those in need.
Because this will be the final year, up to $500 will be set aside for a permanent memorial to Severson. They hope all the communities will make this last challenge a success.
The charity challenge started this week and runs until Jan. 10. Donations can be made through GoFundMe.
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