Community Action Commission

By Lynda Millner   |   September 12, 2019
Cutting the CAC ribbon was board chair Bob Freeman and CAC CEO Patricia Keelean

The Community Action Commission (CAC) wears many hats. Their latest venture is the rebranding of the Back Door Deli and partnering with the County for the sake of 2,000 seniors county wide. This is the County’s first café and catering social enterprise business. My friend Linda Rosso, director of development and communications for CAC, invited me to the ribbon cutting.

The building is located at 315 Camino del Remedio, not far from the Turnpike freeway exit on the mountain side. It is now called “The Art of Giving Back Café & Catering Company.” Surrounded by County offices there are about 1,000 workers who want breakfast and lunch every day. The restaurant is open to the public from 7:40 am to 2 pm. Linda will proudly tell you they have hired a chef replacing the former cook and there are new menus for the restaurant and for the catering at very reasonable prices.

CAC is a nonprofit that helps 2,000 seniors in our county get fed. Every day there are 13 community meal centers from Guadalupe to Carpinteria where they can go to get a hot, nutritious meal. On weekends they offer two frozen dinners that can be taken home and cooked. Seniors also benefit from socializing and sharing activities with others. There are also 500 home-bound seniors CAC delivers meals to every day. The delivery driver may be their only visitor of the day. All the profits from the Art of Giving Back will go to the seniors program which costs $1.6 million annually. When you order a sandwich or cater a lunch, you are also feeding our seniors who lack basic resources. The program is funded by private donors, local companies, foundations, and fundraisers.

Linda says seniors have shared with her that “at the end of the month, after rent and medications are paid for, there are very few dollars left for basic necessities, such as food. The CAC lunch they can count on to carry them through to the end of the month.”

Board chair Bob Freeman with CAC CEO Patricia Keelean and development and communications director Linda Rosso at the ribbon cutting

Board chair for CAC and CEO of CenCal Health Bob Freeman was there to help CAC CEO Patricia Keelean cut the ribbon. Bob called it, “A win-win for nearby employees, for seniors and for CAC. We thank the County for the use of the building and giving back to the community.”

The menu is large listing a great variety for breakfast, eleven different salads, sandwiches, wraps, taco bar, pasta bar, and much more. My favorite Cobb salad is only $7.50. The café also caters breakfasts, boardroom lunches, and other meetings for both small and large groups of 250 people and more. They’ve recently done the Goleta Chamber of Commerce, The Towbes Group, and others.

Healthy Table and Healthy at Home programs have been run by CAC since 1974. The café is operated in partnership with the County of Santa Barbara. To learn more about the CAC Nutrition Services, call 805.964.8857 #1101.

This program is only one of 22 health and human service programs including Head Start Weatherization and Energy Assistance Family & Youth Services and phone 211 which I used during the fire and flood. They have about 400 employees.


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