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Building Blocks 4 Kids supplies funds, toys, games and books to be delivered to students

COURTESY PHOTO - Katrina Raasch, CSD executive secretary, receives toys, games, puzzles and a check from Kendall Schumaker with the nonprofit Building Blocks 4 Kids. The toys will go to help the kids served through the school's lunch program.

Cathy Poppen, president of Building Blocks 4 Kids, sent an email to the Colton School District earlier this month asking how the organization could support the Colton community during the COVID-19 crisis.

The email stated they were helping others by supplying games, puzzles, therapy items and donations to food pantries.

The district accepted the offer, and on May 8 toys, games, books puzzles and a check were delivered to the district office. There are more than 50 items ready to go home with kids when the cars start lining up on Monday to pick up the student lunches provided by the school.

"We were reaching out to the smaller districts in Clackamas County that might get left out of some of the usual programs," Poppen said. "We wanted the kids to know that someone is thinking about them during this time of COVID-19."

Building Blocks 4 Kids is a nonprofit with an office in Gladstone that provides, through advocates, support for Oregon's underprivileged children. According to its website at bb4kids.org/, the organization provides funding needed to participate in extracurricular activities.

"Scholarships help pay for the child's desired activity because we believe that every child should have the opportunity to be involved: sports to piano, Girl Scouts to debate team, tutoring to guitar lessons," the site says.

Poppen stresses that all requests need to go through an advocate. Advocates are representatives from DHS, NW Family Services, a school counselor, an administrator or coach. They can sign up on the website and, after verification, can be there to advocate for a child who needs support.

The program also offers an Aging Out program that helps kids age 18 to 21 with basic needs from help setting up a new place to live to college and trade school expenses like food cards or laptops and items need for a new job. This program usually is advocated by a school counselor.

BB4K was able to make donations of toys to schools and also to police programs because right now their usual spring needs — scholarships for summer camps, participation fee for spring sports, tutoring, helping with graduation expenses and prom tickets — has not been necessary. With a $1,000 donation from the Elks in Oregon City and support from Finance of America, program staff were able to reach out and put smiles on the faces of children during this confusing time.

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