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Local Foundation Helps Rural Lane County Families

PLEASANT HILL, Ore. — There are plenty of resources for parents in need in Eugene and Springfield, but what about in some of the rural areas that really need help?

That’s where the Great Rotary Duck Race presented by First Tech Federal Credit Union comes in.

Pleasant Hill is a town with about 6,000 residents and very few resources when it comes to helping parents like Ranel McDaniel.

“It’s a very rural community. There’s not a lot out here. There are a few things in Dexter, but that’s a little further away,” Ranel said.

But things started to look up for Ranel and her son Ryan when she found out about the Family Connections Program.

“I came pretty religiously all last school year,” Ranel said. “He likes to play and he likes the story. I think he likes it all.”

The program is offered in Pleasant Hill and Cottage Grove by the Patrick McCurdy Education Foundation.

“In those areas it’s oftentimes difficult for families to access services that you have in Eugene/Springfield. They’re difficult to get to, a lot of times they live further out, they don’t know about some of the services,” said Dennis Biggerstaff with Patrick McCurdy Education Foundation.

But thanks to the foundation and the Great Rotary Duck Race, those families can get help. Even if it’s something as simple as coming to story time, like Ranel and Ryan do.

“I think it’s been great for Ryan — and my daughter Andy was in it last year — to have some socialization. It’s also been nice for me to get out of the house,” Ranel said.

It a break for many moms and dads who need it.  And there are many.

“I just want people to know there’s tremendous need out there for support for families and kids,” Biggerstaff said.

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