WENATCHEE — Solomon’s Porch teen center is now operating as a branch of Hospitality Ministries.
Hospitality House, a Christian-based organization that’s operated shelters, meals and other services for the homeless and low income in the Wenatchee Valley for 30 years, took over operation of Solomon’s Porch at the end of June when boards of the two non-profit groups merged.
Jim Zumini, Hospitality House executive director, said he’s looking forward to an opportunity to work with young people who are searching for answers and looking for direction in their lives.
“It rounds us out. We’ve been dealing with men and women and children, and now young people,” Zumini said. He said the ministry’s long experience will give Solomon Porch’s planned new teen shelter a running start. Solomon’s Porch operates a drop-in center and meals for homeless teens. A new teen shelter for overnight stays is still awaiting license approval from the state Department of Social and Health Services.
Solomon’s Porch has operated its drop-in center and youth ministry for more than 20 years. Steve and Desiree Knemeyer took over as directors in 2005 and steered the move to its present location at 17 S. Mission St. The facility recently added a full kitchen to prepare meals and began expansion for a homeless teen shelter.
Hospitality Ministries operates the Hospitality House shelter for men, Haven of Hope for women and children, and Hospitality Heights for families.
Zumini said the Knemeyers contacted him about six months ago to discuss a possible merger.
“They felt that God had called them in another direction, although they aren’t sure what that is yet,” Zumini said. It was very important to them that Solomon’s Porch continue its mission to help local youth, he said.
“We’re not planning any changes. We’re holding steady, but we have some big shoes to fill,” said Kyla Galloway, Solomon’s Porch interim director.
Solomon’s Porch raised several hundred thousand dollars in donations and grants in recent years to add a kitchen and build the eight-bedroom shelter and those additions are paid for, Zumini said.
Hospitality Minisitries is now seeking more donations and looking for volunteers to staff the teen center and extend open hours. It’s currently open two or three hours each evening. About 25 to 30 kids stop in for dinner each evening, he said.
“With the only teen shelter within over 100 miles, it’s important that we do this well,” Zumini said. “The young lives we serve and the people that support Solomon’s Porch deserve the best we can do.”