The Chelan Douglas Community Action Council is turning to the community for support in the final phase of a $6M Capital Campaign.

According to a news release, Chelan –Douglas Community Action Council (CDCAC) has been helping thousands of people in situational or generational poverty since 1965 with housing, utilities, education, job training, food, and other means of support.

Executive Dir. Alan Walker says CDCAC has identified the need to expand and update  the Food Distribution Center to provide future support of residents experiencing food insecurity.  A new facility will help  address the nutritional needs for up to the next 50 years in Chelan and Douglas County.

The current food distribution facility is considered drastically inadequate to meet the increase in demand, contributes to food waste and cannot ensure the safe storage of food products.  The safety of employees and volunteers is also inadequate.  CDCAC has rented a warehouse facility for over 25-years.  The space no longer supports the agency's distribution needs of today. CDCAC receives and distributes twice as much food as it did three years ago.  The Food Distribution Center supplies over 2 million pounds of food each year to almost two-dozen food pantries, meal sites and low-income senior housing facilities reaching approximately 9,000 people.

“In response to community need, the CDCAC has identified a compelling need to expand and update their Food Distribution Center to provide for the ongoing support of their neighbors experiencing food insecurity. A new facility will assist them in meeting the nutritional needs of people throughout Chelan and Douglas County for the next 30-years.” --Derek I. Sandison, Washington State Department of Agriculture Director.

Plans for a new facility include adequate storage, and both food safety and human safety issues are prioritized.  The design includes a food pantry and commercial kitchen.  One food pantry is currently serving the Wenatchee and East Wenatchee areas with limited hours of operation on Saturday only.  The CDCAC pantry operation,  designed like a grocery store would offer extended hours on multiple days per week. The commercial kitchen operation will process locally gleaned and purchased products from local farmers and provide job training.

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The new location will bring all operations into one location.  CDCAC is currently renting  three facilities, plus a main office location it has occupied since 1965.

The CDCAC plans to purchase a 4 acre site at 1700 N. Wenatchee Ave. in Wenatchee.  KPQ previously reported plans for a 14,000-square-foot-plus structure on 3 acres at 2729 Mill Pond Drive in Malaga.  That location is no longer under consideration.

Total estimated project cost is $6M. To date, over $5.3M has been raised through a variety of federal, state, local and private resources.  Representative Mike Steele (R) (WA-12) helped secure a $1M state appropriation in the 2022 state supplemental capital budget. 8th District Congresswoman Kim Schrier (D) WA worked on a federal $3M appropriation awarded in December 2022 in the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration bill.  The Washington State Department of Agriculture has awarded a $400,000 grant and Chelan County, Douglas County and the cities of Wenatchee, Cashmere and Entiat have supported the campaign financially. Contributions have also come from several other health organizations, businesses and private donors.

Walker says CDCAC has not asked the community for this type of support before and hope donors will recognize the unique situation. Fundraising is at 88% of the $6M goal  and now a public campaign is underway to help raise the final 12% share of $680,000.

CDCAC is the lead contractor for Washington State Department of Agriculture Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP), the federal Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), and the Fresh Produce Box program which was developed to respond to the food supply chain disruptions due to COVID-19; and the USDA Farm to Food Bank program.

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