Tri-Valley in Partnership with MNsure Offers Insulin Assistance Program

Posted by Mitch on June 17, 2020 11:10 AM in Uncategorized

On April 15th, 2020, Governor Tim Walz signed into law the Alec Smith Insulin Affordability Act which created the Minnesota Insulin Safety Net Program.

The overall program, which begins July 1, allows eligible individuals to apply for an “urgent need” supply (30-days) of insulin with a valid prescription (the Urgent Need Insulin Safety Net Program). These eligible individuals can also apply for the Continuing Need Insulin Safety Net Program which provides up to 12 months of insulin. 

For more information about the Insulin Assistance Program, contact certified MNsure Navigators Nancy Ramon at 800-820-7263, or Mitch Bakken at 800-584-7020 or visit

Human Services launches new benefits for school children

Posted by Mitch on June 5, 2020 11:32 AM in Uncategorized

For media inquiries only
Katie Bauer
Those on free and reduced-price meal program to receive additional SNAP benefits To ensure 350,000 Minnesota school children who qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meal program have access to healthy food, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Education and Code for America, recently launched the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer, also referred to as P-EBT, benefit.

The Federal Family First Coronavirus Response Act allows children eligible for the meal program to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits retroactive to March through the first week in June. This is in addition to any SNAP, Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) or Unemployment Insurance benefits their families may already receive.

“Hundreds of thousands of school children depend on one or more healthy meals a day through the school meal program,” said Human Services Commissioner Jodi Harpstead. “This new program will ensure families can purchase healthy food to fill their children’s stomachs while easing the financial burden of extra grocery purchases.” 

“It is so much harder for students to learn and grow when they are hungry,” said Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “Our schools have made incredible efforts to meet the nutritional needs of Minnesota’s students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, but we know a gap remains and that makes it our responsibility to look for solutions to food insecurity. This program is an important step in filling that gap to make sure no child goes hungry.”

The Minnesota Department of Human Services will issue benefits in a lump sum of $325 per child; families must use the benefits to purchase food only within a year of the date issued. Families with children, 5-18 years old as of Sept. 1, 2019, who were receiving free or reduced meal, SNAP or MFIP benefits as of March 18, 2020, are eligible. Families will receive these benefits automatically and do not need to take any action. The department will load their benefits to their existing EBT cards on May 30, 2020. Families can check their EBT card balance at

Families who were receiving free or reduced meals for the 2019-2020 school year but who were not also receiving SNAP or MFIP benefits will need to sign up for a benefits card, known as a P-EBT card, to receive these additional funds. Working with partners at Code for America and the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota Department of Human Services will launch a card application form on June 8, 2020. Applications can be submitted until June 30, 2020. The application can be accessed at: as of June 8, 2020. The department will issue benefits approximately every 10 business days after it receives applications.

Pending the number of applications, the department could issue as much as $113,750,000 in P-EBT benefits.

Individuals in need of assistance accessing or using these benefits can contact the P-EBT hotline after June 1, 2020, at 651-431-4050 or 800-657-3698, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Families in need of additional assistance accessing healthy foods are urged to contact their county or tribal human services office or the Minnesota Food Helpline at 888-711-1151 or -30-

Tri-Valley’s Melody Hedden Recognized as a Head Start Hero from the Minnesota Head Start Association

Posted by Mitch on May 20, 2020 2:08 PM in Uncategorized

The Minnesota Head Start Association (MHSA) recently honored Melody Hedden (Assistant Director of Program Services) as a Minnesota Head Start Hero (Head Start alumni who became involved in their local community and made a difference). Hedden was recognized at the Minnesota Head Start Heroes Ceremony held at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul in March.

Hedden’s Head Start experience began in 1979 when she was enrolled in Head Start. In 1998 her first child enrolled into the program. She would later have two more children enroll in Head Start.

“When my parents signed me up for Head Start in 1979 I am sure they weren’t aware of the impact it would have on my life,” Hedden says, “Head Start is the foundation from which my life skills were built.”

Her drive to be a voice for those who had lost theirs, led her to a life of learning and advocating. In addition to degrees in Human Services Technology and Human Services, she has credentials and certificates in Partners for a Healthy Baby, Family Service, Family Service Trainer, Head Start Management Fellow, and Certified Community Action Professional. In 2009, Hedden was named the North Carolina Family Advocate of the Year.

“I am honored and blessed to be the recipient of such an award. I would have never guessed in a million years I would be sitting where I sit today and Head Start played a huge role in that,” says Hedden. “I can’t help but reflect back in my life in amazement of the doors that opened up for me and are continuing to open all because of a program that believes and supports those people who have the most obstacles standing between them and their hopes and desires,”

In 2014, Hedden moved her family north to Minnesota to secure a position as Family & Community Services Manager at Tri-Valley in Crookston. Now as the Assistant Director of Program Services, her position allows her to be passionate about facilitating life changing events in the lives of children and families.

“It is my life’s goal to not only do my best work with Head Start as a way of giving back, but to educate others of the opportunity that lies within the program. I encourage anyone reading this to learn more about the local Head Start program in their community. Look at their Community Assessment and the data that supports that Head Start works,” she adds.

Melody and her husband Joe have five children. Three of their children currently serve in the military. Joe, was also in the Army and served in Iraq. In addition to their biological family, Melody and Joe are foster parents and are currently in the process of adopting two of their foster children.

Hedden closes with, “To all of those families that trust us with their little ones we thank you. It’s because of you this program continues to thrive!”

Head Start Heroes is an annual event that honors members of the Minnesota Head Start community who overcame tremendous challenges and achieved personal and family success. These children, families, alumni and staff members have been selected by the Minnesota Head Start Association Scholarships and Awards Committee based on compelling, personal testimonies about their Head Start experience and how they were able to transform their lives. The Head Start Heroes epitomize how determination, fortitude and access to early learning and whole-family approaches can pave the way to lifelong success.

For more information on Tri-Valley’s Head Start/Early Head Start or Migrant & Seasonal Head Start programs visit the Tri-Valley website at or call 800-584-7020.

Tri-Valley Transportation Programs Request for Quotes (RFQ) Notice

Posted by Mitch on April 7, 2020 9:34 AM in Uncategorized

Date of Request Notification: 4-6-20

RFQ for Purposes of:  New computers for offices 

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. is requesting quotes for the purposes of determining the preferred vendor that provides the best value for meeting our project needs.  All vendors who adequately complete the attached Request for Quotes form will be considered for this project.

Tri-Valley Transportation is seeking a vendor that can supply computers for our Crookston Transportation office, 8 desktop computers, 4 laptop computers and 11 27” monitors.

The selected vendor must complete the delivery of product no later June 30, 2020. Vendors must respond to all sections to be considered, payment will not be made prior to the delivery (no prepayment).  Invoicing will be net 30, please note Tri-Valley is Minnesota sales tax exempt.  Responses will be accepted only via email and all responses will be the property of Tri-Valley Opportunity Council.  All pricing will include all shipping and handling to 102 North Broadway, Crookston MN 56716.   

Submit all questions related to specific project requirements in writing by 4:00PM April 17, 2020. All questions should be submitted via email  All questions regarding this RFQ are to be directed only Cindy Gjerswold. Proposers may be disqualified if any unsolicited contact related to this RFQ is made with an employee or representative of other than the RFQ Administrator during the proposal process. 

Submittal of Request for Quote forms and any additional documentation is to be sent to:

Tri-Valley Opportunity Council Inc.
Attn: Cindy Gjerswold
1345 Fairfax Ave.
(218)281-0700 ext.2637

The deadline for RFQ submittals is by 4:00 April 22, 2020.

Applications for the Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants are now being accepted.

Posted by Mitch on April 6, 2020 9:17 AM in Uncategorized

Applications for the Peacetime Emergency Child Care Grants are now being accepted. These grants are for licensed child care providers serving essential workers during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Child care programs eligible to apply for grants include licensed family and group family programs, licensed child care centers, and tribally licensed child care programs. Selected applicants will receive an award on a month-to-month basis. Monthly grant awards start at $4,500, with an additional $1,000 available for programs providing non-standard hours care, care for children whose first language is not English, and/or who have special needs. Providers that are licensed to serve 15 or more children will be eligible for an additional amount of up to $15,500 per month.

Full details and the application form are available on the Child Care Aware of Minnesota website.

The deadline to apply is April 15, with award decisions by April 20.

Tri-Valley Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Center to Open in Worthington

Posted by Mitch on March 26, 2020 11:03 AM in Uncategorized

Opportunity Council, Inc’s Head Start, Child and Family Programs is excited to
announce the opening of a Migrant and Seasonal Head Start center in
Worthington. The center plans to open on Monday, June 8 and offer services
through Wednesday, August 26 and will be located at 713 10th St.

Migrant Head Start
(Region XII) programs offer comprehensive child development programming for
children birth through five and their families. Services are developed
collaboratively among staff, parents, and community partners in order to meet
the mission, “to cultivate life-long learning in children and families”
and in a way that accommodates the participant’s culture.

The Migrant Head
Start program has a long tradition of delivering comprehensive and high-quality
services designed to foster healthy development in low-income children. 
The Migrant Head Start program provides a range of individualized services in
the areas of education and early childhood development; medical, dental, and
mental health; nutrition; and parent involvement.  In addition, the entire
range of Migrant Head Start services is responsive and appropriate to each
child’s and family’s developmental, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic heritage
and experience.

The center is
currently recruiting children and pregnant women for services and taking
applications for qualified candidates in various positions including center
manager, teachers, bus drivers, bus monitors, custodian, and assistant cook. The
center manager position needs to be filled now. Seasonal position applicants
will be interviewed in April and start work in May.

more information on receiving services or applying for available positions,
please call Stacy Wachsmuth (Program Operations Manager) at 952-997-4879 or

FRAUD ALERT: USDA Warns of Scams Targeting SNAP Recipients

Posted by Mitch on March 25, 2020 8:56 AM in Uncategorized

(Washington, D.C.,
March 24, 2020) 
– Be
on the lookout for potential scammers using the COVID-19 situation to steal
personal information, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) warned
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants today. USDA is
issuing this warning after receiving reports of several possible SNAP fraud

“While many organizations are
seeking to help communities respond to COVID-19, SNAP participants should be
suspicious of any unknown individual or organization that requests their
confidential information,” said Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary for
USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, which administers the SNAP
program at the federal level. “This is a difficult time for us all, and we
certainly don’t want to see bad actors taking advantage of those in need.”

Examples of confidential
information include social security number, bank information, or a
participant’s SNAP EBT card or PIN number. In one potential scam, a website
asked SNAP recipients to enter their personal and bank account information to
qualify for COVID-related monetary assistance.

If SNAP participants are unsure
if a request for information is legitimate, USDA advises they contact their
local SNAP office.  If they do not know their local SNAP office,
participants should contact their state agency.  State contact information
is available at

To stay on top of potential
scams, please visit USDA’s SNAP scam alert webpage at

If you believe you are the
victim of identity theft, contact your local police department regarding
procedures for filing a report.  You may also file a consumer complaint
online with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at  FTC is the federal agency responsible for
protecting consumers from identity theft scams.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition
Service (FNS) administers 15 nutrition
assistance programs
that leverage American’s agricultural abundance to
ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to
eat. FNS also co-develops the Dietary
Guidelines for Americans
, which provide science-based nutrition
recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

###USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer
and lender.

Tri-Valley Senior Programs Receives Grant to Fund Foster Grandparent Program in Eastern North Dakota

Posted by Mitch on March 4, 2020 11:23 AM in Uncategorized

Tri-Valley Senior Programs is excited to announce it has been awarded a Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) grant to fund the Foster Grandparent Program in Eastern North Dakota. Tri-Valley’s Eastern North Dakota Foster Grandparent Program will have a start date of July 1, 2020. It will serve the counties of Barnes, Benson, Cass, Cavalier, Grand Forks, Griggs, Pierce, Ramsey, Richland, Sargent, Stutsman, Trail, and Walsh Counties.

Tri-Valley Senior Programs department is excited to expand its current Foster
Grandparent Program into Eastern North Dakota,” says Marley Melbye (Tri-Valley
Senior Programs Director). “We will be able to play a part in improving the
quality of life for our senior volunteers in North Dakota who have a passion
for today’s youth. In addition, we are excited about the development and
cultivation of new partnerships and collaborations with various school
districts throughout the service area,” Melbye adds.

Foster Grandparent Program (FGP) engages adults age 55 and over who help
children in their communities develop academic and life skills critical to
their development and future success. The Senior Corps volunteers serve as tutors,
mentors, and role models to children at risk of falling behind in school and to
those with physical disabilities and/or other special needs. The
intergenerational exchanges that occur build lasting bonds that benefit those
who perform the service and those being served.

The Corporation for National and Community Service is the federal
agency for volunteering, service, and civic engagement. The agency engages
millions of Americans in citizen service through its AmeriCorps and Senior
Corps programs and leads the nation’s volunteering and service efforts.

questions on Tri-Valley’s Foster Grandparent Program or other Senior Programs
options, please call 800-584-7020 or visit

Tri-Valley Transportation Programs Extends Hours for T.H.E. Bus in Crookston and Thief River Falls

Posted by Mitch on January 21, 2020 3:37 PM in Uncategorized

Tri-Valley Transportation Programs recently extended services for T.H.E. Bus in Crookston and Thief River Falls. T.H.E. Bus previously operated until 6 p.m. and will now operate until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Riders will need to call by 6 p.m. to schedule their rides until more staff can be hired. (Individuals can apply for the Transit Route Coordinator positions at For more questions, or to schedule a ride, please call 800-201-3432.

Bus is a curb-to-curb, handicap accessible service that provides public
transportation services to the general public in eight Minnesota counties,
Polk, Red Lake, Norman, Marshall, Kittson, Pennington, Mahnomen, and
Clearwater. T.H.E. Bus is available with no age limits or income guidelines.

Tri-Valley Head Start, Child and Family Programs Parent Survey Highlights Success and Empowerment

Posted by Mitch on January 3, 2020 3:34 PM in Uncategorized

Tri-Valley Head Start,
Child and Family Programs was excited to see the results of their 2019 Parent
Survey. With 193 responses collected, the program realized that the
participating families were overall happy with the programs Tri-Valley Head
Start, Child and Family Programs has to offer. Most of the questions were
answered with 95% or more positive feedback!

The top three
strengths found in the program were (1. Communities are clean and safe, 2.
There are enough job opportunities, 3. There are vast resources available to
help families). The biggest success for this year parent’s felt was feeling
empowered to support their child’s learning. 

The top three
challenges families surveyed encountered were (1. Cost of living, 2. Childcare,
3. Dental providers).  

Tri-Valley Head Start,
Child and Family Programs uses this survey to focus efforts in helping their
families succeed and encouraging both mothers and fathers to be actively
involved in their child’s development. The survey showed that  an average
of 66% of father figures were able to participate in Head Start activities this
year, let’s make a goal together and bring those numbers up to the 90% or
higher for next season!

Thank you to everyone
that took the survey and for all of those that support Tri-Valley Head Start
Child and Family Programs!   

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