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Community Action office opens in Wadena

The local Community Action agency now has an office in downtown Wadena.

Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership quietly opened its 311 S. Jefferson St. location Tuesday.

Staff members were unpacking office equipment in the morning.

"We are very excited," Dana Patsie of Childcare Resource and Referral said.

Patsie previously worked for the Otter Tail-Wadena Community Action Council (OTWCAC) office in New York Mills.

Like other Community Action agencies, OTWCAC served the area since the 1960s, but is phasing out after being absorbed into what used to be called Mahube Community Council. The Detroit Lakes-based agency served Mahnomen, Hubbard and Becker counties. The now five-county organization was renamed Mahube-Otwa Community Action Partnership, effective April 1.

The New York Mills office is still open for the Head Start programs for this upcoming school year.

Lynn Haverkamp, family development / housing caseworker who is based in Detroit Lakes, said people could still visit the Wadena office regarding Head Start, and from there employees would refer them to the appropriate office.

Staff said the Wadena office would otherwise offer the same services as the New York Mills office, with the addition of a new Mahube-Otwa program to help seniors with yard work and house work.

"The chore and homemaking program, that's a wonderful program," Haverkamp said.

Dr. Leah Pigatti, executive director of Mahube-Otwa, said in a phone interview the Wadena office would have seven full-time staff members by fall, and people from the main office in Detroit Lakes would also stop in at the Wadena office intermittently.

Pigatti added that they are still in the process of hiring energy assistance staff, and by Sept. 1 they will be operational with everything but Head Start.

Pigatti said they will also likely have an open house event in August. But people who have any needs or issues or want to apply for any programs can stop in.

"We're open and ready for business," she said. "People who need services, they can access services from Wadena."

Pigatti also said they are looking forward to working with clients and getting to know new community partners in the Wadena area, and she is glad for the visible and accessible new location.

Patsie said the office located in Wadena is not just for Wadena County.

"We'll serve anyone," Haverkamp said.

Mahube-Otwa is a private non-profit organization that provides services for senior citizens and people with low incomes.

Services offered include child care resource and referral, energy assistance, family development, family health, Head Start, housing services and senior programs.

The new office can be contacted by calling 218-632-3600.