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Project Fresh Start

Project Fresh Start

Project Fresh Start, supported by Ankeny Community Engagement, is an Ankeny-based volunteer program that has provided free school supplies, backpacks, prom dresses and more to students for over a decade. Project Fresh Start accepts donations for three on-going projects: Days of Giving, Prom Dress Giveaway, and FEWD (Faith and Education Winter Donations).

Days of Giving (School Supplies)

This program provides students of Ankeny (grades k-12) with free school supplies and backpacks. Days of Giving is usually held in late July/early August. Financial support for this program may be sent to the Community Engagement Department at 306 SW School Street. Information about receiving will be in the vBackpack and sent home with students.

The first year it existed, the group gave backpacks and supplies to 191 students.  In 2020, Project Fresh Start distributed almost 700 backpacks and supplies. Approximately $20,000 is needed in donations for student supplies.

FEWD (Faith and Education Winter Donations)

In Fall, Ankeny families are faced with a significant challenge. Iowa winter has us opening our closet for winter coats, hats, gloves, and boots. However, many Ankeny families lack the funds to purchase these items for their children. Project Fresh Start has stepped forward to help receive and coordinate donations of winter clothing. This new project is a joint venture between community church members and our educational community. Information about receiving will be in the vBackpack and sent home with students.

In 2020, the giveaway provided coats, hats, mittens, and other winter outerwear to just under 200 Ankeny students. All sixteen schools held a winter clothing drive to collect for this event.  This project was truly a community undertaking as churches, businesses, civic groups, and individuals provided their support.  It was a labor love by the project’s volunteers.

Prom Dress Giveaway

All Ankeny students should have the opportunity to participate in the Ankeny Prom. Project Fresh Start, with the help of the Ankeny Community Engagement Department and Ankeny Service Center, accepts clean, slightly used prom dresses. This event is typically scheduled in February or March with information in the vBackpack.

Project Fresh Start’s goal is to make sure no Ankeny area student misses their high school prom because they lack the funds to purchase a dress. Because of this philosophy, this program took flight with the Ankeny Community Engagement Department accepting clean, slightly used long, formal dresses, shoes, and accessories.  Donations for this program are on hold due to COVID.  Check back for future updates.

In 2019,  136 students from more than 21 area high schools selected a dress and took it home free of charge.  Due to the generous support of the Ankeny and surrounding communities more than 900 dresses were collected and added to inventory.  Any remaining items after the event are a foundation for next year’s giveaway.

Questions about Project Fresh Start may be directed to volunteer and chair, Dave Kissinger at  Please consider donating to this worthy cause which offers assistance to Ankeny students.

To volunteer for a Project Fresh Start event, you must have a background check completed.  Please send full name and birth date to both of the following emails with the subject heading “PFS Volunteer” to: and

To make a monetary contribution to Project Fresh Start, please send your donation to the below address:

Project Fresh Start
c/o Community Engagement Department
306 SW School Street
Ankeny, IA 50023


Contact Us

Tricia Fogarty Profile
Community Engagement Assistant