APOYO is funded, in part, by the state of Washington Emergency Food Assistance Program. We also receive donations of food from Northwest Harvest, a regional organization founded in the 1960s, and from private donors.
APOYO is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our Federal EIN is 91-1970470. You can donate to APOYO via Pay Pal.
APOYO Means support. Allied People Offering Year-Round Outreach has been operating on Central Washington University’s campus since 2001. We are an all-volunteer organization. All of our cash goes directly to the purchase of food and a few other essentials, such as diapers and toothpaste. Our board members are current or former CWU faculty, community activists, and leaders from the local mexicano community. Almost all of them are bilingual.
We provide ethnically sensitive food and support to a diverse population in our area. Everyone is welcome. We open twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and we have no restrictions on the number of times clients can take food. We collect no personal data, and we do not turn anyone away. We can also deliver food in emergency situations.
We welcome donations of used clothing, appliances and household items, as well as some furniture, as space permits. All volunteers are welcome. We provide community service hours, and we can offer student internships by arrangement with professors. If you need help, if you have items to donate, if you need community service hours, or if you have students who might benefit from working with a nonprofit organization that serves our local community, please give us a call at 509-929-4112! You can also email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or just drop by!
And please visit our photo gallery.
APOYO was founded in 1995 by CWU professor Philip Garrison and two friends from the local mexicano community. You can read Professor Garrison's own account of the founding in an essay from his book Because I Don't Have Wings. We have republished it here. We began by receiving food donations from Northwest Harvest, and thanks to Central Washington University, we found space in the old Ellensburg Hospital building. With the help of two local doctors and three nurses, we founded a free clinic that, while short-lived, served to raise awareness of the need for low income health care in Ellensburg. We also provided transportation to treatment centers in Yakima. Before local service providers acquired bilingual staff, we also acted as translators.
Officially incorporated in 2001, we moved onto Central's campus in the Old Heat building just off University Way. We applied for and received funding from Washington State's Emergency Food Assistance Program. Since that time, the organization has grown and gained support from a variety of local and statewide agencies. Coordinating with student groups and professors, we offered research opportunities and participation programs. Our client base and our board of directors expanded. Though we do not advertise or hold fund raisers, local businesses and churches began supporting us with donations. In turn, we began collaborating with them to participate in service fairs and other activities to support our minority communities.
After the ICE raid in 2011, we joined with other groups to raise bail money and additional funds for rent and utility bills for people in danger of losing their housing. You can read Philip Garrison's account here, taken from What that Pig Said to Jesus. We also provided advocacy, translation services and transportation to and from detention centers. In April of 2016, the Kittitas County Commissioners announced plans to purchase the Shady Acres trailer park and demolish fifty-eight low income housing units in order to create an RV park. The move would have evicted 115 mostly minority people, many of whom owned the trailers they had been living in for over twenty years. In response, APOYO joined with CWU faculty and community leaders to oppose this plan, helping residents form a homeowners' association and file a lawsuit against the county. The results are still pending, but the need for more low income housing in Kittitas County has now become quite obvious.
In the fall of 2016 we were obliged to move from our longtime location in Cenral's Old Heat plant on University Way into our new location at 1320 East 18th Avenue. To help clients, students and volunteers find us more easily, we increased our visibility on the web with a Facebook page, a link to Google Maps (see below), and an updated web site. In 2018, we began partnering with Central's Center for Leadership and Community Engagement (CLCE) to increase student participation and provide more educational opportunities. In our 2018-19 funding cycle, with the help of volunteers donating over 3100 hours, we provided over 106,000 pounds of food to nearly 3500 households, consisting of over 12600 individuals, an increase of 36% over the previous year, and a 33% increase in new clients. We are projecting similar increases for next year. We are also proud to have a sister relationship with Las Patronas in Mexico's state of Veracruz, as well as several other Mexican food banks.
Today, we remain an effective way of keeping Central's name in front of several thousand low income families who live in an area that stretches from Ellensburg east to Othello. Over the last fifteen years, more than twenty-five food bank clients or their children have enrolled at Central. Two have completed doctoral programs. (Please visit our Photo Gallery)