Port Orchard’s St. Vincent de Paul thrift store and assistance center on Bay Street may shut down operations unless it can raise $100,000 build a new 25,000 square-foot facility on land it owns at 2525 Bethel Ave.
St. Vincent’s previously purchased the 2.9-acre site in February for $145,000. Agency officials said donation dollars were not used to buy the land.
Sean Jeu, the store’s general manager and director of operations, said Monday the agency needs the extra funding to satisfy bank requirements in obtaining funding for the $1.8 million project. Jeu said he couldn’t yet disclose the bank’s name.
“The bank said it needs a little more weight added by us as a down payment so they can approve a loan,” Jeu said. “We have a deadline of March to raise the money.”
Jeu said St. Vincent de Paul would welcome contributions from local businesses, fraternal organizations and civic groups. Individual contributions also will be accepted, he said.
The current headquarters at 1209 Bay St., is located in a small strip mall building that is to be demolished to make room for an expansion of the Bruce Titus Ford operation. The car dealership purchased the property this spring.
Jeu said the organization searched for existing property to lease, but found the cheapest monthly rate to be $15,000 a month, well above what they currently pay (nearly $11,000 a month) for their 25,000-square-foot property.
Jeu said he met with the local organization’s board of directors, which agreed to move forward with a fundraising campaign.
It’s a step that Jeu said the board didn’t take lightly. “We’ve always been self-sufficient with our mission to help others,” Jeu said.
“We were reluctant to ask for community help. But we need this extra help to ensure future growth of St. Vincent de Paul. Otherwise, we will have to close.”
When Jeu received the news last Friday that extra funding would be required, the not-for-profit agency, which provides assistance to the community’s needy citizens and operates a thrift shop, made initial calls to potential corporate contributors. He said the outreach is just beginning and will continue until the March deadline.
St. Vincent helps about 3,000 individuals each year. Jeu estimates about 50,000 individuals in the South Kitsap area have received assistance. According to St. Vincent de Paul’s website, the organization provides assistance to help “feed, clothe, house and heal people” from every sector of society.
All donations for the building fund are tax-deductible, Jeu said. Checks are preferred and can be mailed or dropped off at the store. He said checks must be designated as for the building fund. Otherwise, those donations are required to go into their operations fund.
Jeu added that if the building loan does not materialize, all money that’s donated to the building fund will be returned to donors.
For more information, contact Jeu at 360-876-6933.