A pair of nonprofit organizations working for the betterment of Enumclaw were in the City Council spotlight last week.
Like they do every year, representatives from Plateau Outreach Ministries and the Rainier Foothills Wellness Foundation appeared before the council, detailing their accomplishments during the past 12 months and updating the current status of ongoing programs. The city provides a variety of entities with public money every year and, in turn, requires an appearance in public session.
Addressing the council were the two executive directors, POM’s Elisha Smith-Marshall and the Foundation’s Sara Stratton.
As was the case a year ago, POM is providing services over the phone rather than in person, Smith-Marshall said. That practice will continue, she added, until social distancing guidelines are relaxed, due to the size of the agency’s “case management” room.
In keeping with COVID protocols, the staff is continuing with weekly food bank distributions, Smith-Marshall said, but is operating as a drive-through. New since the pandemic hit is a home-delivery option that serves between 30 and 35 families per week, she said, explaining that Door Dash handles the delivery through funding by King County United Way.
The POM director said she’s hoping things improve enough by fall to return the food bank to an indoor operation.
A source of income for the nonprofit operation is its More Pennies From Heaven thrift store, which is open three days per week, and donations are collected twice monthly at Calvary Presbyterian Church.
On another positive note, Smith-Marshall said volunteers are returning to POM’s downtown building.
For 2021, the city provided POM with $5,000 to be distributed to those struggling to pay their utility bills and $28,000 for rental assistance.
Through the end of April, the organization had provided $68,226 in emergency assistance to city residents. More than $38,000 of that sum was used to help with rent payments, Smith-Marshall added, with $7,155 directed to senior citizens. The money helped 77 households meet their rent obligations this year. City contributions to POM have also helped families pay utility bills, she said.
“We are grateful to live in a city that cares for its residents and helps in a time of crisis,” Smith-Marshall said. “We know the need is high but, together, we will continue to compassionately serve our community.”
Stratton opened by reviewing the funding provided by the city, starting with the $10,000 given to help get hot meals to local seniors. The program operates under the banner of the Foundation’s Neighbors Feeding Neighbors initiative.
On average, she said, about 100 senior citizens are served per week. During the pandemic deliveries have been dropped to once per week but the goal is to returned by June to a three-times-per-week schedule.
More than 11,000 meals have been delivered since the first of the year through the program that operates jointly with the Enumclaw Senior Center. Of that total, 9,400 have been frozen meals and 1,640 have been hot, ready-to-eat dinners.
The city also provided $40,000 so the Foundation could place a mental health counselor in the Enumclaw school system, to benefit secondary students (middle school and high school). The Foundation did additional fundraising, Stratton said, and was successful enough to hire two full-time counselors to be brought on board for the next academic year.
In other business during their May 10 session, members of the Enumclaw City Council:
• Noted several special weeks, either past or coming up: National Corrections Officer Week was May 2-9; National Police Week was May 9-15; and National Public Works Week is being observed now (May 16-22). Additionally, Mayor Jan Molinaro reminded that May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which strives to encourage everyone to increase their understanding of the importance of mental health and treatment.
• Announced that the city’s six-year transportation improvement plan will be the subject of an upcoming public hearing. The nonbinding statement identifies and prioritizes projects within the city limits and is an essential step in securing funding from state and federal agencies. The hearing will take place during the next regular meeting of the council, planned for 7 p.m. May 24.
• Selected a firm that will restore the masonry on the front of the 100-year-old City Hall. Chosen for the task will be Kent-based Western Specialty Contractors, which submitted to best responsible bid ($211,072). The city’s advertisement attracted three firms, with bids ranging from $97,000 to nearly $275,000. The lowest bid was considered “nonresponsive” as much of the required work was deleted.
• Were told the Enumclaw Expo Center will host the Southwest Dairy Goat Show from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 22.