Crisis Center renames to ‘CommUnity’ in order to showcase its expanded services

The Johnson County Crisis Center has rebranded itself as CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank as the center nears its 50th anniversary.


Alyson Kuennen

The CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank is seen on March 12, 2019. Formerly known as the Crisis Center of Johnson County, the food bank rebranded in order to emphasize the importance of community.

Rachel Steil, News Reporter

The Johnson County Crisis Center has renamed itself the CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, or CommUnity for short, as the center nears 50 years of service.

Leaders at the center decided to rebrand in order to better reflect the organization’s expanded services across the state and its community origins, according to a press release.

RELATED: Simple & free: New food pantry at Iowa City Senior Center hopes to cater to community

“We were founded by members of the community. We are staffed by volunteers and individuals from the community,” Becci Reedus, Executive Director of CommUnity, said in the press release. “We are supported and funded by the community, including the government, schools, churches, businesses, service organizations, and individual donors.”

Reedus stated that the former name placed limitations on the center. Since its establishment, the center has expanded its influence beyond Johnson County and throughout the state. As the center has grown, their budget hasn’t followed suit.

“We wanted to make sure that all people across the state knew that they could access our service,” said Sara Sedlacek, CommUnity’s Director of External Relations.

RELATED: Crisis Center collects donations for toilet paper drive

By removing Johnson County from the name, the center would eliminate the misconception that they are a government organization, Reedus said.

“We estimate that potentially several million dollars in funding opportunities were lost because we were seen as either part of Johnson County government or as an organization that only provides services in Johnson County,” Reedus said.

William Stender, a UI freshman and new volunteer at CommUnity, thinks that the new name will have a positive effect on the center. Stender said that the new name will highlight the good aspects and the impact the center has on the community’s well-being.

“I feel like the name change has made [the center] seem more open and friendly,” Stender said.

However, Reedus said, the center has never lacked support from the community.

“One thing has remained constant, and that has been the support of our community, which helped to build us from the ground up,” Reedus said.

Braden Goyke, who has been a volunteer at the center since October of last year, has been working with the center throughout the rebranding process.

“I personally love the name change,” Goyke said. “I know that there’s some volunteers that have been there for much longer than I have. You can tell that they’ve built a connection with the people that use the services there.”

Goyke said the adoption of the name CommUnity encapsulates the experience of bonding with community and reaffirms the value of the center in Johnson County and the surrounding area.

The name change comes as the center is approaching its 50th anniversary. Since 1970, the center has provided assistance and support to individuals struggling with financial and emotional crises.

CommUnity offers resources such as mental-health support groups, suicide-prevention training, a 24/7 crisis hotline, and grocery assistance through the Food Bank.

“We wanted to pay homage to the community,” Sedlacek said. “The community made us who we are.”