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Missoula Early Head Start is a program of Ravalli Head Start Inc. that helps children age 3 and younger and prenatal mothers by providing a variety of early parenting education and child development services in center-based, home-based and prenatal programs.

Services are individualized for parents to assist their goals of independence and self-sufficiency. Resources and referrals include social services; medical, dental, physical, nutrition and mental health services; and disability services. Parents receive ongoing parenting education, leadership skills, volunteer opportunities, skill-building, goal-setting and career opportunities. 

Missoula Early Head Start serves 70 Missoula County families. Approximately one-quarter of the program population is homeless – the highest percentage per capita of Head Start programs in Montana. Parents range from homeless pregnant teens and single mothers to working low-income families striving for self-sufficiency.

Early Head Start is administered federally by the Head Start Bureau within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 12-month program is free to families with incomes at or below the U.S. Poverty Income Guidelines ($19,530 for a family of three, for example).   

Following are immediate program needs. To help, contact Billy Moriarity at Missoula Early Head Start, 251-9410, Ext. 302, or drop off donations at Missoula Early Head Start.

• A single mother of two, a newborn and a 2-year-old, is hoping for a donation of a double stroller, so she can go for walks with both children.

• A single father of a toddler boy is hoping to obtain a small bookshelf for his son’s room.

• A young family with three children, including a girl age 6 months, is in need of a high chair.

• A mother of two with a newborn baby boy is hoping for a crib, a toddler bed, two end tables, two nightstands, an entertainment center for a large TV and a glider rocker.

• A single mother of three boys could really use a safety gate to protect her youngest child from a stairwell.

• A single mother of three children is asking for a TV stand to use in her living room.

• A single father is in need of a safe crib for his young daughter.

• A young couple with two children are hoping for child size 3 winter boots for their daughter and size 11 boots for their son. This family does not have a vehicle for transportation, and they worry about their children being exposed to the elements in the coming months.

• A single father is in need of a reliable vehicle to effectively parent his children and get to and from work. A grand gesture of generosity would be incredibly appreciated.

• A married couple with three daughters are hoping for winter clothing for their youngest, size 3-9 months.

• A single mother is asking for a vacuum cleaner to keep her apartment safe for her daughter.

• A single mother of two boys is in need of storage bins/organizers, cleaning supplies, two booster chairs for their dinner table, two sets of toddler sheets and blankets, and pants for her youngest son, size 3-4T.

Missoula Early Head Start is participating in Project Homeless Connect in January. The program is looking for donations of diapers in all sizes and new or gently used children’s snow boots to give to homeless families in the community. Missoula Early Head Start is also hoping to provide homeless teens with backpacks and school supplies.

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News assistant at The Missoulian.