Outreach to move, will seek funding

Plateau Outreach Min-istries exists solely to serve those in need, whether it’s a box of free food, a tank of gas or shelter on a chilly evening.

Now, the local nonprofit agency is aiming high in hopes of offering even more.

With the help of an anonymous donor, POM has purchased a building of its own and will soon launch a capital campaign that will, organizers hope, eventually raise $1 million.

“The campaign is in its formative stages,” said Montye Male, president of the Plateau Outreach Ministries board of directors.

POM has moved a couple of times in recent years and now occupies a two-story, Cole Street space on the northern edge of Enumclaw’s downtown core. The upper level, where many receive POM services, is accessible only by stairs, making it tough on some clients.

A longtime goal has been to own a building that was more conducive to its needs, said Kimberly Fish, POM’s exective director. But even if such a building existed, POM didn’t have money in the bank to swing a purchase.

But, sometimes, things have a way of working out.

A downtown building just a stone’s throw from current POM headquarters became available and a donor agreed to purchase the building for the nonprofit agency, which will repay a loan that carries a friendly interest rate. The building, at the corner of Cole and Marshall Avenue, was most recently occupied by Maple Thicket, a floral and gift shop.

POM staff are planning a July move into their new quarters.

The new building offers about 6,000 square feet of space, just as the current building, but it will allow POM to do more, Fish and Male agree.

About 40 percent of POM’s operating budget is generated by the More Pennies From Heaven thrift store, which will be expanded in the new space. The social services end of the operation, which includes the food bank, clothing bank and Samaritan Project, will be accessed through a ground-level door on Marshall Avenue.

“We kept thinking we were just fooling ourselves that there was a bilding out there to fit our needs,” Fish said. “Then it turns up just kitty-corner from our current building. It’s amazing.”

Fish said POM services won’t miss a beat during the transition to its new quarters.

“We’ve been blessed that we’ve never had to campaign for money,” Male said. “The community has been so open-hearted.”

POM is financed by local churches, grants, private donations and a contribution from the city.

But the organization’s financial model is about to change.

Male said POM would like to generate $250,000 for improvements to the new building, so it can be put to its greatest use. Money also is needed to pay of the loan for the building and, Male said, the board wants to establish a fund for future repairs.

From day one, the move will save POM money, Male said, as the mortgage payment will be 25 percent less than the current monthly rent.

The fundraising campaign is headed by Elaine Olson and Alison Haseman and is expected to begin in April.

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