Hope College

Document Type



Community Action House (CAH) was organized in 1969 by local churches, organizations, and interested citizens in response to the Latin-American community’s appeal for help in integrating its members into the Holland area. It is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization, serving not only the Latino community of Allegan and Ottawa counties, but other ethnic background citizens as well. The organization has a Board of Directors who are men and women from the community. They, in turn, hire a director. Volunteers are an important part of the CAH and serve in almost every facet of the agency’s operations. CAH is funded by monies from local churches, businesses, organizations, individuals, federal and state grants and the United Way. It provides emergency assistance to people in need, including two food pantries, monthly food distribution, assistance with hygiene products, household cleaning supplies, baby items (diapers, formula) and foreclosure intervention services. CAH also provides skill-building services including education classes (first-time homebuyer, financial literacy and home maintenance education) and EPIC, a 5-month intensive program that teaches empowerment, employment training and team-building skills. Since 1992, CAH also runs a community kitchen at Western Theological Seminary, which is open every weekday from 11:30-1:00 throughout the year. CAH opened its first thrift store in 2000 at the Macatawa Resource Center. In 2011, the store was moved to its current location at 694 Michigan Avenue, and is known as the Community Action House General Store. Proceeds from the General Store are used to fund agency programs and services. CAH began its work in a house at 166 East 8th Street, and then moved to a building at 345 West 14th Street. That structure was razed in 1994 and a new building constructed on the site, which is barrier-free and more spacious. In 1999, an office was also opened on the north side of Holland on 136th Avenue. The collection consists of reports, newspaper clippings, programs, and history of the organization. There is also a large collection of videos (DVD) of TV news spots and other programs promoting the work of the Community Action House.


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