Giving Back with Community Action House

By Kelsey Smith

Community Action House

About the organization

For 50 years, Community Action House in Holland has served vulnerable neighbors on the lakeshore. The founders sought to organize a collective response of individuals, churches and businesses working together in shared action to provide critical resources in a time of need, as well as assistance achieving mobility from poverty. It does this through three main program areas: reducing food insecurity, providing resource navigation assistance and improving financial wellness. 

Meet Scott Rumpsa, executive director

Scott Rumpsa, executive director at Community Action House
Scott Rumpsa, executive director at Community Action House

How did you get started here?

I got to know Action House a bit during my time at Hope College, and better still through my church (Hope Church), which has supported Action House since inception. After 10 years of working abroad and in D.C. for international-facing nonprofits, I was excited for the opportunity to come back to lead an organization I so admired. Our founding values spoke most to me — values that lead us to be a welcoming and affirming place for all in need, where struggle is not met with judgement and stigma, but with understanding and partnership.

What impact does Community Action House have on the community?

Today, our team of 24 are hard at work alongside more than 330 annual community volunteers to ensure everyone in our region has the opportunity to achieve their full potential, regardless of present circumstances. Over the years, we’ve responded to community needs, relying on the generosity of our neighbors to provide services aligned with present circumstances. For instance, following the housing crisis, we were able to scale up our foreclosure prevention efforts, and saved over 200 family homes through an initiative that garnered national recognition. And just last year, our various programs helped over 4,200 neighbors in need. We shared over 268,000 nutritious meals to reduce hunger, provided expert counsel and over 5,000 connections to valuable community supporters, and helped over 42 families achieve a brighter future with their first home purchase, among other achievements. 

Giving Back with  Community Action House

Why this matters 

With the cost of essentials outpacing income growth, families are being forced to make difficult decisions, like choosing between food or paying for utilities or a needed prescription. Anyone without sufficient healthy food will struggle to achieve their full potential — in school, at work and in life. This is why we’re committed to helping our neighbors meet their food needs — not only is ensuring sufficient access the right thing to do with strong linkages to desirable community outcomes, but it’s also an ideal opportunity to connect with and support families on a way forward before an even deeper crisis hits.  

How you can help

Individuals, businesses and churches all contribute financially to support our programs, and we welcome donations of whatever size to help sustain our work. We rely on over 330 volunteers every year — but we’re in need of more! Volunteer with us — providing meals, serving guests, gardening, rescuing food, running our resale shop, etc. We also run a Resale Store on Michigan Avenue — shop for unique and useful items, saving money while supporting our programs. Don’t forget to donate your gently used clothing, furniture, and household items.

Community Action House
345 W. 14th St., Holland

Our experience

Every quarter, we as a staff at Urban St. magazine get to volunteer at Community Action House for its food distribution program. Being able to volunteer for the last four years as a company has been such an eye-opening experience for me, and I’m grateful that I’m able to give back to my community in a hands-on way.

—Kelsey Smith, managing editor at Urban St.

Kelsey Smith, managing editor at Urban St. (right), and Kate O’Neil, associate editor at Urban St.
Kelsey Smith, managing editor at Urban St. (right),
and Kate O’Neil, associate editor at Urban St.