[[{"fid":"5186","view_mode":"full","attributes":{"height":"383","width":"352","style":"width: 316px; height: 383px; float: right;","class":"media-element file-full"},"type":"media"}]]Linda Severson was known throughout Iowa City and Johnson County as a go-to person for people in need. As the Human Services Planning Coordinator for the Metropolitan Planning Organization of Johnson County (MPOJC) from 1994 until her death in 2011, she was recognized county-wide for her efforts to coordinate donation drives for local agencies, families or individuals who were struggling.

Each year, she organized the City of Iowa City’s holiday donation drive, collecting clothing for children, coats for families, and money for local charities. After her death, the City of Iowa City, MPOJC and other local government agencies with whom she had worked organized the “Severson Holiday Charity Challenge” to carry on her efforts to help those in need. 

The challenge, now in its sixth year, is a friendly competition between participating local government entities to collect donations for a charity they wish to support. The “Severson Cup,” an engraved travelling trophy, is awarded to the staff (including elected/appointed officials) that shows the greatest increase in donations over the previous year. This year’s competition runs from Dec. 1, 2016 through Jan. 4, 2017.

The entities that will participate this year, along with the charitable organizations for which they’ll be collecting donations, are as follows:

Iowa City / MPOJC: Joan Buxton School Children’s Aid Fund (Note: A donations box has been set up in the City Clerk's Office at City Hall, 410 E. Washington Street, Iowa City. Checks may be donated, made payable to the Joan Buxton School Children’s Aid Fund, to buy items in bulk. People may also drop off donations for school children in need, such as: Pants or jeans for boys and girls (suggested sizes 5-8, with elastic waist); underwear for boys or girls (sizes 5-8); socks; and winter wear, such as coats, boots, gloves, hats and scarves.)

Coralville: Coralville Community Food Pantry and Valley View Lodge (a Shelter House Fairweather Lodge in Coralville)

North Liberty: North Liberty Community Pantry                  

Johnson County: Cassie’s Mittens and Crisis Center

North Liberty took top honors in last year’s event. Overall, the challenge brought in more than 12,000 donated items for people in need throughout Johnson County as well as more than $1,300 in cash donations. 


For more information, contact Sarah Walz, MPOJC Assistant Transportation Planner, at 319-356-5239 or sarah-walz@iowa-city.org.

Date of publication

Wednesday, November 30, 2016