November 2023 Volume 34; Issue 2

You can view the complete newsletter here.


From the Executive Director's Desk

November is the first month for regular applications in our Low-Income Heating/Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) program. Seniors and persons with disabilities were able to apply beginning in October. Additional funds have been released by the federal government but we do not have all the details as to how much of those dollars will come to Mid-Sioux.

We were notified by the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation that our application for $210,000.00 for the Rock Rapids facility renovation was approved. This was wonderful news and will help us to update the Head Start kitchen, facility restrooms, front entrance, and landscaping. We will begin planning very soon and hope to complete the project over a 2-3-year period. Thank you, Lyon County Riverboat Foundation!

The Iowa Department of Health and Human Services continues to evaluate reorganization possibilities. It seems that options will be discussed over the next month or two with final recommendations coming to the legislature in 2024.

I will soon be preparing to meet with local governments in regard to budget requests for the coming year. These funds are very important to us as they support our Outreach network in our 5-county area. This is a very good opportunity to explain what we do and how our services impact local communities.

With the holiday season upon us, staff are busy with special projects. Food baskets and Christmas gifts are just two examples of what our staff are preparing for. Thanks to all who contribute to these services.

Dick Sievers
Executive Director


"Funds will be used to update the Head Start classroom and Outreach office facilities. We very much appreciate the support from the Lyon County Riverboat Foundation," -Dick Sievers, Executive Director

Pictured left to right are: Doug Vanden Bosh, Mid-Sioux Board Member & Lyon County Supervisor; Dick Sievers, Mid-Sioux Executive Director; Thomas Letsche, Mid-Sioux Board President; Kendra Rensink, Head Start/Early Head Start Director; Cindy Harpenau, WIC/MH Director; & Fred Landis, Lyon County Riverboat Foundation Board Member.


Human Resources

We are hiring!


Child Care Collaborative of Iowa

Iowa’s Shared Services program has been showcased in the video Using Modern Technology and Coaching to Improve Child Care Business Operations - YouTube.

Included in the video is Mid-Sioux’s newest program, Child Care Collaboration of Iowa (CCCI). Child care businesses receive financial management coaching and technology grants through the new program. Two programs share their experiences. Hear from Angie Mason, Child Development Home Category C provider and Elieen Canafax, Child Care Center Director, about how their program, children, and families benefit from implementing Brightwheel or Playground, financial management coaching, and technology grants. Benefits shared include time savings on administrative tasks based on reduced duplicative work, reduced paperwork, and streamlined processes. The time savings have allowed both programs more time to plan child curriculum. Both Mason and Canafax share the positive outcome of increased parent engagement and how parents are updated on their child’s activities in their programs throughout the day. The video also features interviews with financial business coach, Krystal Frank with the CCCI, and Ryan Page, Iowa Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Director of Child Care. The video was created through a collaborative partnership between Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) and HHS. IWD Digital Content Creator, Ben Oldach, was instrumental in conducting the interviews and producing the video.

Iowa’s Implementation of Innovative Technology Strategies Showcased Nationally

Iowa was showcased as a national leader at the 2023 National Shared Services Technical Conference. Iowa’s work was represented in two pre-conference sessions and four conference sessions including the highest attended session titled, “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once: How Iowa is transforming the ECE sector with Technology.” These sessions aligned with the issue brief released at Stoney, "IOWA LEADS THE WAY: How Modern Technology Can Improve Access to High-Quality Child Care." Mid-Sioux’s Child Care Collaborative staff Melissa Juhl, Director; Rebekah Hungate and Jaqueline Penning, Financial Management Consultant Supervisors presented at one of the pre-conference sessions and two conference sessions. Sessions focused on financial management coaching strategies; database design and building our Child Care Collaborative of Iowa program in one year. 

Mid-Sioux’s Child Care Collaborative of Iowa Releases New Online Child Care Business Library

CCCI has a new online resource library packed with over 50 child care business-related topics. Each topic has an easy-to-use guide and video recording of the topic in both English and Spanish. Business topics fit in the following categories: business operations, attracting & retaining staff, finances, growth & sustainability, taxes, and federal & state funding. There is a guide for time-space calculation, creating a hiring announcement, setting rates, etc. See the topics available in the online library here: CCCI Library - Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. (


Lyon County Outreach

Welcome to fall and a brief look at winter!

Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) has officially begun. The month of October was busy assisting elderly and disabled clients in their applications. We now have a full schedule to assist all other clients in applications. We anticipate high numbers this year as it looks like we could be in for a long, cold winter.

If you know of someone needing assistance with their heating bills throughout the winter, please contact us. We’d love to see how we can help them. Items we need for new clients to apply include social security cards for all household members, a recent utility bill, and all household income for the past 30 days. The chart below shows the 200% poverty guideline that we follow for LIHEAP:

Last year, the local city offices and fire departments donated smoke detectors. We have quite a few available to hand out this year as well. It's a nice addition to give to our clients when they come in and sign up for LIHEAP.

New Rock Rapids Food Pantry!

We are so excited to announce we've opened a new food pantry at our Rock Rapids location. Many individuals and families have already utilized it and seemed to greatly appreciate it. It’s much easier for individuals who live in and around Rock Rapids to get to this pantry, rather than to drive to Sioux Center for a food box. We hope this helps the community easily access food assistance!

We have been reaching out to local businesses in all of Lyon County to set up food drives or help us monetarily. We’ve had a couple of businesses do food drives and some local individuals drop in with food they picked up at the grocery store for us. We've been approved to partner with the Food Bank of Siouxland, pending an inspection that we have to pass. With this partnership, we are able to order food monthly for our food pantry. This means we will be able to get items at a reduced price through them.

Christmas Gift Program - Sponsors Needed!

The Christmas Gift Program has started again this year. Lyon County businesses, organizations, and churches sponsor our elderly and disabled clients. We have a great need for more sponsors. If anyone is interested in sponsoring a Lyon County elderly person/couple or disabled person/family, please let us know.

Please contact the Lyon County Outreach if you need any assistance or have any questions regarding any of our programs.

712-472-3746 or 712-722-3611


Child Care Resource & Referral

Instant Access to Data

Mid-Sioux's Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R) collects information on early childhood for programs, community members and more! Using this information can help policymakers make informed decisions regarding child care.

We are excited to share that we have added the option for instant access to real-time data on our Data webpage.

Use the feature to gather the latest data regarding specific child care services per county. Including:

  • Population
  • Average Income
  • Average Child Care Rates
  • Number of Programs
  • Total Spaces for Children
  • Programs accepting Child Care Assistance
  • IQ4K® - Quality Rating and Improvement System Participants
  • ChildNet Programs
  • CCR&R Services to Programs

CCR&R is always striving to meet our mission:

Provide resources, education and advocacy to support quality child care. CCR&R is committed to ensure that Iowa's vision is met. Every child, beginning at birth, will be healthy and successful.

 -Your friends at CCR&R

Written by


Mid-Sioux Opportunity, Inc. is a not-for-profit Community Action Agency established in 1965 to fight poverty at a local level by assisting low-income families in Northwest Iowa to become self-sufficient.

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