Graettinger, Iowa — A local agency that helps people all over northwest Iowa is celebrating fifty years this week.
Upper Des Moines Opportunity is what’s known as a Community Action Agency. Iowa’s Community Action Agencies are locally-based private, non-profit organizations that network with a wide-array of local organizations to enhance the opportunities for low-income Iowans to meet basic needs and develop their own capacity to do so.
Upper Des Moines’ Outreach Director, TJ Thayer tells us about the history of the organization.
Thayer says their motto is “Helping people. Changing lives”.
He says one of the big ones right now is the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program or LIHEAP.
Many families qualify for LIHEAP. For instance, according to LIHEAP guidelines, a family of four can make up to $42,438, and still qualify for heating assistance through LIHEAP.
He says one of their more familiar programs is the food pantry.
He says they also provide support during the holidays.
In addition, Thayer says they help through the Women, Infants, and Children or WIC program, Head Start, Housing Assistance, the Children and Adult Care Food Program, and many other programs.
He says they love to partner with the community.
A Chamber Coffee/Open House to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Upper Des Moines is scheduled at the Sibley Upper Des Moines office on Thursday, September 17, 2015 from 9-11 AM.
In our four-county area, Upper Des Moines serves O’Brien and Osceola counties, as two of the 12 that they serve. In the other two counties in our listening area — Sioux and Lyon — a similar agency called Mid Sioux Opportunity is the Community Action Agency for those counties as well as Plymouth, Cherokee, and Ida counties. Mid Sioux is also celebrating 50 years this year.