Rescue Mission operation one half million dollars in debt

WJHG news coverage article:

Most charities struggle with finances but the new Executive Director of the Panama City Rescue Mission says things are really tough. As anyone that follows this blog, the reasons for the “tough finances” are very clear. After years and years of mismanagement on the part of Fox and the board of directors and the continued ignoring of the complaints of how operations were being handled, the donating community has taken things in their own hands and made the checks for their charitable dollars to other organizations that operate in an honest and forthright fashion.

Donations dropped off significantly after the Mission Board parted ways with former billy fox last month, and now the organization is now half a million dollarsin debt. More accurately is that the donations were significantly down before Fox terminated playing a major role in his dismissal.

Thurman Chambers has been on the job just 3 weeks, but he’s already facing what he calls the biggest challenge of his career.

When he took over the Panama City Rescue Mission, he also inherited a mountain debt. Debt is just one of multiple problems he has inherited. Unfortunately for Mr. chambers a former director and former president of the board ransacked the organization in a way that quite frankly will be a significant challenge  to overcome in order for it to survive. Mr. Chambers may be well served to offer an olive branch to other organizations who were participants in the planning of the bay area resource center and find ways for the PCRM to stay relevant as a provider of services to our community.

Panama City Rescue Mission Executive Director Thurman Chambers elaborates, saying, “[I] never followed one that, you know, there was a problem or happening within the organization so it’s taken a little adjustment.”

The Rescue Mission serves about 150 homeless people during the average summer day.

But it’s about to get busier.

The numbers increase in the winter to 200 a day.

Chambers is worried about handling that increase, when the Mission is about half a million dollars in debt.

“We’re behind in some of our payments, and our accounts payable, that sort of thing. That’s going to help us get caught up so to speak. We’re in the negatives right now so we gotta get the ship right.”

Chambers is still trying to figure out why donations are down. Mr. Chambers seems to be an intelligent individual and I am quite sure he is aware of the cause. It is the elephant in the room that local media is scared to death to discuss.

He isn’t sure if it’s because of the change of leadership, or the on going debate over the Mission’s plans to expand Bethel Village for women and children. Or the more obvious answer that our community has just tired of how the mission has run their operation, ignored the pleas to lower their profile on our downtown community and the always present confrontational tone that the previous director and president board took would talking of the mission and where they fit into the community. These individuals spoke as though THEY owned the mission and its assets when in fact the donating community owns the rescue mission. Note where both of those individuals are now, nowhere to be seen but leaving a legacy of problems for someone else to clean up. This is what happens when an organization loses its way. This is what happens when individuals become greedy and begin to take actions outside the principles by which the organization was founded. 

“You know for the last two years, it’s been really, really slow for them.”

Whatever the reason, Chambers is asking for help.

He sent a letter to local churches and media soliciting more donations from residents during the holiday season.

The organization historically receives most of its donations during the last 3 months of the year.

Apparently the request is working.

Chambers says he’s already received calls from local Pastors, wanting to help

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