Community Action Agency and Western Upper Peninsula Food Bank

Location: 926 Dodge Street, Houghton, MI
Phone: 906-482-5528
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

The Community Action Agency (CAA) and Western Upper Peninsula Food Bank (WUPFB) work closely together to reduce food insecurities in our community. The WUPFB assists by storing food, sometimes donating items, and serves as the location for the monthly CAA food distributions to area residents who qualify for assistance through their programs. This includes monthly and sometimes bi-monthly pantry distributions offering canned goods, dry goods, meat and more as supplied to us.  Please visit the Community Action Agency office if you have questions or to fill out an application for any of our programs.

Qualification Requirements
Our programs each have requirements to determine if you qualify. These include income requirement for a household, proof of residence, and sometimes age, and also require a brief application. If you have questions about qualifying, please give us a call and we can help determine the right program for you.

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a Federal program that helps by providing USDA emergency food and nutrition assistance at no cost. Items often distributed include juice, frozen or canned meat, eggs, noodles, flour, and fruit. Eligibility is determined by total household income and household size. Households must be at or below 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines to be eligible.

CAA Food Distribution
This monthly food distribution program is offered by the CAA and Western Upper Peninsula Food Bank and follows the same requirements as TEFAP. Qualifying for one program does not disqualify you from the other, and most people actually qualify and attend both. They even use the same application form to apply. Items often distributed include frozen meats, pasta, canned goods, juice, and more. Items vary depending on season and availability. Distribution location is the WUPFB warehouse.

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) works to improve the health of low-income elderly persons at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods. This includes a monthly food box containing items like juice, cheese, meat, fruits, vegetables, peanut butter, and pasta. To qualify, seniors must meet the income guideline of 130% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

 So what does the Food Bank do?
The Western Upper Peninsula Food Bank (WUPFB) started as a food bank service offered through the Community Action Agency. They later branched off and became their own official nonprofit organization in 2004 although the same staff continues to run both non-profits. Currently, the WUPFB is the only food bank in operation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Through Feeding America, the WUPFB is able to offer a variety of food items (meat, dry good, canned goods, etc.) for other nonprofit groups (throughout the Upper Peninsula) to purchase at a low cost to help feed those in need.

Food Bank vs Food Pantry
Food banks and food pantries have very different day to day operations, but they share the same commitment to fighting hunger.

Food banks act as food storage and distribution depots for smaller front line agencies. The main purpose of a food bank is to provide low cost food options for other nonprofits (our clients) to purchase.  For example, if the Salvation Army purchased food from the food bank to host a holiday program.  Think of a food bank as a large volume storehouse for food and products that eventually will go out to the community, just through other partners.

In contrast, a food pantry provides food directly to people in need and has foods available immediately. In the US, a food pantry is usually a small building than a food bank, which hands out packages of food direct to people in need.