Aptly named, A Special Place Childcare is a truly special environment for preschool children in the Silverton, Oregon community. Owned and operated by Deanna and Mathew Pelinga for the past 40 years, the care and love the pair have for children is evident in everything they do.

Perhaps the hardest thing the couple has had to endure in their four decades of operation is to close their afterschool program due to the pandemic. “It’s been really tough, Says Mathew. “Not only did we have to shut down the afterschool program, but we had to reduce our childcare enrollment by half.”

While things have slowly gotten better for A Special Place Childcare, the same cannot be said for some parents who have been ever more deeply affected by COVID-19. That is why the Pelinga’s were excited at the opportunity that Columbia Bank’s Pass It On Project provided. Columbia Bank is paying the bill and the Pelinga’s are providing childcare tuition assistance to essential worker parents who need a break. “We really want to help parents who need assistance to keep their children in childcare, and with Columbia Bank’s support we will be able to provide that help immediately,” says Deanna.