IOWA CITY — Becci Reedus felt a little sad when she took off her Crisis Center of Johnson County name tag for the last time Monday morning.
The executive director’s name tag was replaced with one that says CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank. The organization, which plans to provide all the same services, announced the name change with a reveal party Monday.
“The Crisis Center’s meant a lot the community here for a long time,” Reedus said. “It came down to when CommUnity was proposed as a name, it was like ‘Yeah, I think that’s it.’ Because community, that’s our roots.”
As the organization nears its 50th anniversary, its board of directors voted on the new name, a nod to the community that helped build the organization through volunteering and donations.
The center was established in 1970 by two University of Iowa students after they came home to their dorm to find their roommate had attempted suicide. They learned there were few options for crisis services in Iowa City, so they started the center and expanded it to offer a food bank 1978.
The reason behind the name change was to open up new funding and contracting possibilities with Iowa’s other mental health regions — there are more than a dozen in Iowa, including the Mental Health/Disability Services of the East Central Region, which includes Johnson and Linn counties. Because “Johnson County” was in the center’s name, Reedus said other regions often didn’t realize the organization offered services outside of the county.
The center provides a food bank, emergency financial assistance for needs such as eye glasses and work uniforms, as well as crisis services, like its online crisis chat and phone line, 1-855-325-4296.
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“We just really thought it was time to lose that geographic distinction,” Reedus said. “Our crisis chat, we’re really working hard to expand it statewide.”
The new branding appeared on the organization’s social media accounts and new website, builtbycommunity.org, Monday evening with a temporary logo with the new name and the words “formerly the Crisis Center.” Staff plan to have the new branding in full force by the annual pancake breakfast on March 2.
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