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Healthy Time Check

Healthy Time Check

neighborhood ariel view

A Neighborhood Initiative

Healthy Time Check

Healthy living and healthy communities involve more than just food or fitness.

They consist of safe and healthy homes, social connections with neighbors, empowerment through education, as well as the ability to drive change in your community. Healthy Time Check is a holistic initiative that spans each of the pillars of our mission – food, housing, education, and community building – to grow a stronger Time Check neighborhood.


After the devastating flood of 2008, the Time Check neighborhood was left with more than 200 vacant lots. The Ellis corridor, once a hub of activity with small grocery stores, locally-owned eateries and other shops along the boulevard, became quiet with empty lots where shops once stood and old commercial buildings that either attracted bars or sat empty. Homeowners and renters have been cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of their income on mortgages or rent.

time check map

Where can Time Check go from here?

Instead of getting caught up in the problems, Matthew 25 looks at the strengths and potential of the neighborhood and has been working with residents, business owners, and other partners to move towards a more positive future.

Time Check is a diverse and beautiful area, with a lot of green space and trails. It is home to the Mother Mosque and is near one of the oldest and most beautiful parks in the city. Downtown Cedar Rapids and schools are within walking distance.

This neighborhood has a lot to be proud of, and through the Healthy Time Check initiative, we’re working to increase healthy opportunities for its residents.

Progress To Date

progress to date

Our goal when starting the Healthy Time Check initiative in 2018 was to use the assets of the built environment, local food, and community engagement to support the movement of the Time Check neighborhood towards a healthier future with increased opportunity for its residents.

Together with local partners, we are working to rebuild the vibrancy along Ellis Boulevard. Matthew 25 has been assisting homeowners with home repairs, providing free front yard garden beds and fruit trees, supplying healthy produce at weekly Farmers Markets, holding regular community building events at the Urban Farm, and more. Developer investments in housing are bringing more people to the neighborhood. This development and increase in local customers is spurring small business growth in the neighborhood, which provides jobs to youth and adults within walking or biking distance.

Taking the Next Step

These efforts in Time Check have created a surge of energy, from more developers building properties to businesses coming back to the Ellis Corridor. Matthew 25 has likewise taken the next step of further investment in Time Check by raising $1.4 million to open a new grocery store and expand housing opportunities in the neighborhood.

The Cultivate Hope Corner Store officially opened its doors in April 2022, offering fresh, affordable produce, grocery staples, and delicious prepared meals that rival fast food options. Additionally, a Free Produce section offers a way for shoppers to stretch their grocery budget.

Matthew 25 has thus far acquired six units of housing that we are rehabbing and turning into affordable rentals, with more to come. Soon we will be breaking ground on several vacant lots in the neighborhood so we can build new in-fill housing.

We are excited about this next stage in the process and are optimistic about continued growth and development in this neighborhood, thanks to the efforts of all involved in the Healthy Time Check initiative.

Meet Courtney!

Meet Courtney!

Community Building Director