Opening of Food Club brings new food access model to Holland

Community Action House opened its highly anticipated Food Club on Monday after completing a successful $4.4 million campaign. This model transforms how food assistance is offered, prioritizing healthy options in a high-dignity, grocery store-style environment.

CAH Executive Director Scott Rumpsa describes the new Food Club and Opportunity Hub as a community-built, volunteer-driven expansion of the nonprofit's services.

“We’ve long been a critical resource for many of our neighbors, and we’re so excited to launch this expansion, featuring an innovative model that offers dramatically expanded service, wider impact, greater efficiency, and a more welcoming experience for our guests in their time of need," says Rumpsa. "Our Food Club is designed to support over 1,200 low-income families every month, helping bridge the gap for the one in nine families in Ottawa County who struggle to meet basic needs.”

Food Club, located at 739 Paw Paw Drive in Holland, was modeled after the successful Community Food Club programs of Grand Rapids and Ludington. The building itself, as well as the shopping experience, is designed around a welcoming, efficient guest experience, with a focus on streamlining clients’ connection to other helpful resources and programs in the adjoining Opportunity Hub.

In the Opportunity Hub, members can meet with staff for support with finances, housing, or connections to other resources.

At Food Club, qualifying low-income guests participate through a small monthly fee, determined by income level, and are able to come throughout the month to redeem their allotment of points for as much as $150 worth of healthy food of their choosing. 

Community celebration 

Along with nutritious and culturally relevant food selections for members to choose from, the Food Club and Opportunity Hub will feature convenient hours of operation, including evening and weekend hours, and a demonstration kitchen. In the Opportunity Hub, members can meet with staff for support with finances, housing, or connections to other resources.

“The Food Club and Opportunity Hub is an incredible expression of our community’s compassion and commitment to seek better ways of serving together,” says Rumpsa. “This facility will not only expand our reach to provide neighbors with the resources to achieve long-term success, but it will also be a focal point for enhanced collaboration with many of our partners.”
Food Club's interior features wall murals by acclaimed artist and Holland resident Joel Schoon-Tanis. 

Community Action House marked the opening with a Community Celebration on Oct. 23, featuring a food drive, live music from the Johnny Park Band, activities for families, and tours of the building. The club's interior features wall murals by acclaimed artist and Holland resident Joel Schoon-Tanis

The open house was well attended by members and community supporters. In the first hour, 57 households registered. So far, more than 400 families are preregistered which means over 1000 beneficiaries will be served in the first two weeks, according to Brigit Hassig, CAH's director of advancement and strategic partnerships.

Since opening, the checkout lanes served by trained volunteers have been consistently serving guests, she added.

To learn how to join, volunteer, or donate to Food Club, visit https://www.hzfoodclub.org/.

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.