Community Action House celebrates families
By Mary Lu Laffey
Helping to eliminate poverty through food distribution is among the best-known philanthropy embraced by Community Action House (CAH). Since 1969, the Holland agency has been involved in food distribution. In recent years, families in need can select foodstuffs and personal care items from the pantries located at CAH offices on 14th Street and 136th Avenue. They can also find support to make long-term changes in their lives.
To that end, CAH offers counseling devoted to empowerment and employment. In a program called EPIC, the agency works with individuals to help develop the skills necessary to identify, manage, and positively influence their mindsets and behaviors. The endgame is to achieve sustainable outcomes and long-term life goals, like permanent employment. CAH includes the flip side by working with area employers to enlist their support in meeting the challenges outside of the workplace that many employees face.
In the past year, through education programs, 48 families received counseling to avoid home foreclosure. State-certified education classes helped 172 individuals become more financially competent. CAH helped support 30 homeless families including 53 children with housing.
Hundreds of volunteers donated 26,684 hours of services valued at over $450,000 in support of CAH. Gardeners grew 4,200 pounds of fresh produce for area families.
That same year in partnership with Western Theological Seminary, 250 volunteers from 30 churches cooked in the Community Kitchen and served 66,552 meals.
Area businesses schedule employees to pack boxes of food for distribution. In all, 4,000 families including 1,273 children sought out and received 225,000 meals.
The dedicated staff and volunteers at Community Action House invite residents to visit the General Store on Michigan Avenue, to say hello at the Holland Community Kitchen during lunch or the main office on 14th Street. n
Community Action House
345 W. 14th St.