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Columbia Pacific CCO funding mental health programs, support for foster children, nutrition

Columbia Pacific CCO announced local grant recipients earlier this week.

CPCCO is the coordinated care organization administering Medicaid in Columbia, Clatsop and Tillamook counties.

The organization is providing $140,000 to six groups serving different populations.

WildFlower Play Collective, a startup nonprofit community center for families with young children, is receiving $25,000.

The membership-based center would provide an indoor play space as well as resources for families that will be able to purchase memberships on a sliding scale.

"As mothers of small children, we didn't have anywhere to go in the county," WildFlower co-director and founding board member Emilia Ponti said. "We're really hoping to address the social isolation that accompanies parenthood, especially when you have young children, and to bring more resources."

The organization has received nonprofit status and is seeking business and individual donors as they look for a location in St. Helens.

WildFlower Play Collective was a finalist in the St. Helens Economic Development Corporation's business plan competition earlier this year. "That really solidified everything that we were doing and gave us deadlines and pushed us. It was really helpful," Ponti said.

CPCCO is also granting $25,000 to the Oregon State University's Extension Service's Food Hero Foster Families Project. Food Hero is an initiative of the Oregon Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) that aims to increase education around healthy nutrition. The funding will be used to modify Food Hero to include a tool kit developed by the Oregon nonprofit SPOON Foundation. The "Nourished and Thriving" tool kit is focused on creating healthy nutritional and relationships with food for children in the foster care system or with disabilities, who experience higher rates of malnutrition.PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Columbia Pacific Food Bank in St. Helens will receive $15,000 in Columbia Pacific CCO grants to expand fresh produce distribution. The food bank is planning a move to the former location of Columbia Electric Feed and Seed on Columbia Boulevard in St. Helens, as seen here, but for now remains located at 474 Milton Way, St. Helens.

Three other groups will each receive $25,000: Community Action Team, for parenting education and support; CASA for Children, which provides court-appointed special advocates for children in the foster care system; and Columbia Community Mental Health's Jordan Center, which provides drop-in mental health support.

Columbia Pacific Food Bank, will receive $15,000 to expand fresh produce distribution. The food bank recently began distributing produce through the Scappoose Library every Tuesday from 12 to 3 p.m. In 2021, the food bank will move to a new location on Columbia Boulevard.

The Community Wellness Investment Funds were distributed to projects aligned with CPCCO's priorities areas, which include trauma-informed care, community resilience, chronic disease prevention, and housing.


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