Bringing hope to those in need in Colusa County

Don Joel, president of the Ministerial Association of Colusa County, left, and Jason McMullan, executive director of the Ministerial Association of Colusa County, center, lead a tour of The Hope Center at the Colusa Assembly of God Church in Colusa on Friday. 

To continue expanding health care options within the rural communities of Colusa County, the Ministerial Association of Colusa County hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house at The Hope Center in Colusa on Friday. 

The Hope Center, located at the Colusa Assembly of God Church, offered walk-in urgent care, behavioral health appointments, a food pantry, local resources for jobs and assistance programs and a community calendar, in addition to life recovery groups and access to remote classes. 

It also has a computer lab with a fax machine and a clothes closet for those looking for employment. 

The Ministerial Association has also partnered with Columbia Bank to offer money management classes and beginner bank accounts for those that do not have one. 

Jason McMullan, executive director of the Ministerial Association of Colusa County, said the new center is a partnership between the Colusa Assembly of God Church and the Ministerial Association, who will fund the building, staffing and program coordination, as it will run the PneumaCare program overseen by the Ministerial Association. 

“So many people are struggling, looking for hope, and we are proud to partner with people like Anthem (Blue Cross) to help,” said Colusa Assembly of God Pastor Ken Edwards. 

Don Joel, president of the Ministerial Association, said the association coordinated their PneumaCare program to stand arm in arm with their community and help beyond Sunday morning. 

“It is a blessing to be able to help in a way people don’t think about the church doing,” said Joel. 

Over the past few years, the Ministerial Association has coordinated the opening of nearly a dozen food distributions, nine food pantries and a half dozen clothing closets throughout Colusa County, said McMullan, but as they were doing so they noticed another great need within the community.

“One of the areas of need that we’ve noticed while caring for our neighbors is their struggle to access medical services and behavioral health providers, and often rely on the local emergency room or driving great distances to see a therapist,” said McMullan in 2021. “From that, our ministers committed to establishing places in churches where anyone in our community can access urgent care services and meet with behavioral health specialists through telehealth technology, with a focus on helping those enrolled in medical assistance plans, such as the uninsured and Medi-Cal.”

The Ministerial Association partnered with healthcare partners to open the first PneumaCare Telehealth for Urgent Care and Behavioral Health at the Stonyford Community Church in May. 

Its goal is to open a facility of this kind in each of the seven communities within Colusa County to provide an option for immediate health care assistance. 

With continued support from Anthem Blue Cross and California Health & Wellness, the Ministerial Association takes a holistic approach to promote spiritual, mental and physical health by focusing on what McMullan called the “four walls” – food, shelter, clothing and transportation. 

“These are the things that people need to become stable and grow their health,” said McMullan. 

According to McMullan, The Hope Center is open to anyone needing assistance. The Ministerial Association has partnered with seven health insurance companies at this time, including Anthem Blue Cross, California Health & Wellness and Medical, to provide services at no-cost or minimal cost for the community. 

“The Ministerial Association will also work with those that do not have insurance to make sure that they get care,” said McMullan. 

According to McMullan, the health insurance companies that they have partnered with have been an integral part of these expanded services. 

“At every turn, they have consistently asked what more they can do, to expand our program, and broaden the scope of their support – whether that was in the form of financial support, buying telehealth devices, or having their teams consult on the development of our program,” said McMullan. “Our Ministerial Association is very thankful for the engagement and partnership from both of these organizations.”

The Hope Center is located at the rear of the Colusa Assembly of God Church, 1747 State Route 20, Colusa, and is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. 

Appointments are also available upon request. 

For more information, call the Colusa Assembly of God Church at 530-458-2585. 

Those interested in the expanding PneumaCare services within Colusa County, as well as  information on the health care partners and resources within the community that can assist in providing care, can visit pneumacare.org for more information. 

For those that are interested in supporting the association’s food, clothing or community health endeavors, monetary donations written out to the Ministerial Association of Colusa County can be sent to 53 Walnut Tree Drive, Colusa, CA 95932. Donations can also be made at www.colusamacc.org.

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