March 2023 Volume 33; Issue 6
You can view the complete newsletter here.
From the Executive Director's Desk
March is a time for Head Start/Early Head Start recruitment, LiHEAP applications and the closing of our annual audit. Outreach staff are seeing more participation in our food pantries and with crisis applications. Child Care Resource & Referral and Financial Management Consultants are actively involved with communities and childcare providers. WIC staff are continuing to provide services in our expanded service area as are our FaDSS specialists. Needless to say, we have a lot going on.
The Iowa Legislature has been very busy with bills relating to school choice and government reorganization. Some steps have already been taken on both of these issues with debate continuing over the next month or 2. The reorganization plan would place all of our state funded services in the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. I have been able to participate in several meetings with state level administrators and representatives of the Governor’s office. I believe we have found common ground on most of the questions we have. Reorganization of this magnitude has not taken place for approximately 40 years. Some change is in order and I support the efforts to streamline government when it is done with the public’s best interest in mind. I believe that a good product will be the end result of these discussions.
A community needs assessment process is being carried out by management staff with the support of Tiffany Keimig of the Iowa Community Action Association. After this process is complete we will begin to develop a strategic plan to guide us over the next five years. We hope to have the plan completed by August of 2023.
Preparations are being made for our annual meeting on May 5th. We will have the opportunity to thank employees and board members for years of service and also will recognize local community partners.
I am writing this article on National Employee Appreciation Day. We have excellent staff and I want to thank them for the hard work and dedication they show to Mid-Sioux. I am fortunate to work with a great group of people.
Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
April 30th marks the end of applications for this program! Always a relief to be finished with that portion of the program. Then on to the next step…
Households that apply for LiHEAP are covered under the moratorium until April 1st. The moratorium is a state law that protects low-income families that apply for LiHEAP from having their heating/electric services disconnected from November 1 – April 1. Beginning April 1st, our outreach staff will be switching gears and will start taking crisis applications for households that have heating/electric back-bills. Crisis money received this year is a lot less than the previous two years, so our assistance may not go as far as needed.
The Des Moines Register fundraising efforts were successful, again Mid-Sioux received $22,136 to assist with emergency services that we don’t normally have funding for. Payments were made for 37 households, which allowed us to fund:
- 4 Beds
- 22 Car Repairs
- 3 Home Repairs
- 2 Appliances
- 4 Eye Exams/Glasses
- 1 Dental Appointment
- 2 Medical Bills
Head Start/Early Head Start
Free Preschool Programs for your 3 & 4 year old. Centers are located in Akron, Cherokee, Ida Grove, LeMars, Orange City, Rock Rapids, Rock Valley and Sioux Center. A Child Development Center is located in Hawarden.
Check the picture to go to our webpage for more information and to apply.
Child Care Resource & Referral (CCR&R)
The CCR&R Emergency Preparedness Workgroup has been planning a special week to observe Iowa’s Severe Weather Preparedness Week, March 27-31, 2023. Springtime can come with a lot of severe weather, and we want to make sure all child care programs are prepared. This week-long focus on emergency preparedness will hopefully help child care businesses prioritize writing and testing their plans.
The week-long plan includes:
- Five days of severe weather awareness posts on social media accounts.
- On Facebook, child care programs will be asked, “Show us you have tested your child care emergency preparedness plan this week.” Programs that upload pictures will be entered into a drawing at the end of the week. Winners will receive either a whistle or lantern to add to their supplies.
- CCR&R is introducing a new texting campaign. Child Care programs that text IowaEP to 59925, will join CCR&R's emergency preparedness communication. They will receive 48 texts with helpful information and reminders regarding emergency preparedness.
- All child care businesses in Iowa will be mailed a postcard with the new texting campaign information along with a QR code to link them to the resources on our website.
- A new Emergency Preparedness Card is being printed for CCR&R staff to share with child care businesses during site visits, trainings or events to remind them about Emergency Preparedness and our services.
- We didn’t forget families! We also have many tools and resources for families to make a plan too! https://iowaccrr.org/families/ep/
The CCR&R Emergency Preparedness Workgroup hopes these resources will increase awareness for severe weather and the need to be prepared. For more information regarding emergency preparedness resources for child care programs, visit https://iowaccrr.org/training/EP/.
Sioux County Outreach
Happy almost Spring from the Sioux County Outreach Office!
It’s been a very long winter, but Daylight Savings is March 12th, and the first Day of Spring is March 20th, so it has to get better!
Low-Income/Heating Assistance (LiHEAP) Applications:
We are still taking LiHEAP applications through April 30th. It seems we’ve been pretty steady with applications since the bills have been so high for people. If you know of someone needing assistance, please have them contact our office at 712-722-3611. In addition to head assistance, we are also able to help with water bills if they are behind.
Our food pantry continues to stay busy. We have increased the amount of people using our pantry to over twice what it was last year! We are always reaching out trying to find businesses, churches or organizations that would like to help us out either monetarily or by having a food/hygiene drive one month out of the year. Walmart has begun donating new clothing to our outreach office. Our clients have enjoyed taking advantage of getting free, new clothing for them and their children.
Head Start/Early Head Start Applications:
We have begun taking applications for Early Head Start/Head Start for this coming fall. Early Head Start is for expectant mothers through age three and Head Start is for ages three and four. We have Head Start Classrooms in Orange City, Rock Valley, Sioux Center and CDC in Hawarden in Sioux County. If you know of any families that could benefit from their child attending one of these, please send them to our Sioux County office at 618 14th St. NE, Sioux Center or they can call us at 712-722-3611.
Staying caught up with rent is another problem our clients have been experiencing. We are able to help clients with $500 one time per year. Sometimes, just that little assistance can help people get caught up and save them from eviction.
Upcoming Sioux County Events:
- March 15-16 from 3:00 PM-8:00 PM – Indoor Fair at Dordt University, Sioux Center
- March 25 – Illusionist Jett Skrien at Unity Christian High School, Orange City, Tickets needed.
- April 29 - SIOUXperman Triathlon at Dordt University, Sioux Center
- May 17-20 - Tulip Festival in Orange City
Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have for any of our programs in Sioux County: (712) 722-3611