A Port Orchard community resource is about to disappear before our very eyes. But it’s not too late to prevent that from happening.
Seah Jeu, general manager and operations director of St. Vincent’s, said the not-for-profit’s future existence is in danger because not enough contributions to fund their new building’s down payment have been made by the Port Orchard and South Kitsap community.
It’s not an idle threat. Last spring, Bruce Titus Ford purchased the land under St. Vincent’s building on Bay Street so it can expand its business. Jeu has emphasized that Titus has been accommodating since the purchase. The dealership has even given a generous donation to the cause, Jeu said.
But the fact remains that St. Vincent’s needs to be out of its current location by January. Construction of a new building on agency land fronting Bethel Avenue needs to begin by April so that St. Vincent’s can relocate and continue providing essential services to the community.
In order to secure a construction loan, the agency needs to raise $100,000 that would be combined with $500,000 it already has in hand to form a down payment. Jeu said a lower-than-expected appraisal on the land has made the task more difficult.
Generous contributions from Port Orchard citizens and businesses must be made in the coming week and a half or the community will lose one of its able service agents. St. Vincent’s isn’t just a thrift store. It helps people pay their power bill during tough times. It provides emergency food and personal supplies to those going through a crisis situation. St. Vincent’s also has training programs for those out of work.
Just as important, St. Vincent de Paul has a personal relationship with thousands in this community. As Jeu has said, the store has become a welcoming gathering place for people in need as well as for those who have turned the corner from hardship and are leading better lives, thanks in part to St. Vincent’s.
Jeu related how customers, whom he refers to as “family,” often drop by to express their gratitude or just share a story about a new baby, an illness or a recent personal loss.
It’s become somewhat of a political debate these days about whether corporations are “people.” But there’s little debate about this not-for-profit: it’s a living, caring organization that has a heart.
Large donor or not, St. Vincent’s can use your help now. As Jeu has said, the agency has operated since 1991 here from the nickels and dimes of contributors. Each donation, even a quarter, helps enable that a new St. Vincent de Paul organization, housed in a new facility, will continue to be a valued part of Port Orchard.
Donate today. Time is of the essence. Drop by with a check or cash. If you do intend to write a check, make sure to clearly indicate on it that the funds are designated for the “Building Fund.”
Here’s where to bring your donation to St. Vincent de Paul in Port Orchard: 1209 Bay St., next to Bruce Titus Ford.