Robert H. Spitz Foundation grant supports The Wright Center for Community Health’s Healthy MOMS program

Participating in the ceremonial check presentation, from left, are Laura Ducceschi, president and CEO, Scranton Area Community Foundation; Vanessa Zurn, case manager, Healthy MOMS; Michele Coyle, case manager, Healthy MOMS; and Cathy Fitzpatrick, grants and scholarship manager, Scranton Area Community Foundation.

The Wright Center for Community Health was recently awarded an $8,000 grant from the Robert H. Spitz Foundation in support of the collaborative Healthy Maternal Opiate Medical Support (Healthy MOMS) program that focuses on helping pregnant women and new mothers overcome addiction and rebuild their lives in recovery.

The grant will support working mothers enrolled in the Helping MOMS Out of Poverty (HOP) program with initial costs related to housing – including security deposits, rent, and utility bills. Having stable housing is an important step for program participants in maintaining their sobriety, caring for their children, and building a better life.

The lack of affordable housing remains an issue, with more than one-third of the mothers in the program needing financial assistance with housing and utilities, according to Maria Kolcharno, MSW, LSW, director of addiction services at The Wright Center for Community Health.

“The Helping Moms Out of Poverty project addresses these vital needs,” Kolcharno said. “Many moms live in transitional housing and are exposed to drug use, violence, and unsafe conditions. Stable housing plays a vital role in recovery from substance use disorders. The inability to pay rent and utilities can trigger substance misuse and relapse. While the mom can manage the rent, initial costs are hardships. Funding will help with one-time upfront rental costs and assistance with emergency utility bills for gas, electric, and water to alleviate shut-offs.”

The Healthy MOMS program assists women in recovery from substance use disorder and aims to lower the incidence of babies born with neonatal abstinence syndrome. Since October 2018, the program has helped more than 445 moms across nine counties in Northeast Pennsylvania. Currently, there are 144 active moms and 233 babies have been born into this program.

The Robert H. Spitz Foundation awards grants to registered nonprofit organizations that support initiatives and programs serving Lackawanna County and Northeast Pennsylvania. Among the foundation’s five priority areas are programs that break the cycle of poverty, veterans’ affairs and veteran-oriented programs, animal welfare, Jewish culture and cemeteries, and environmental projects. To date, the Robert H. Spitz Foundation has provided over $3.7 million in funding to the community.

For more information about the Healthy MOMS program, call 570.955.7821 or visit

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