Missions proposed move to 15th street locations hammered by community

Rooms-to-Go is a no go for the Panama City Rescue Mission. After the business moved to Pier Park North the empty facility was on the table to be the new home of the Mission.
After public outcry, they organization decided to move on. This location should never have been on the table for consideration to begin with. This location is within a stones throw of retails and residential locations and is on the main thoroughfare for visiting travelers coming to our beach as a tourist destination. 
“It was appealing to us because we could combine our store and our programs in one building,” Wrong, first off you need to keep your programs and your retail operations very separate. This is part of the problem you have now with little to no oversight with program “participants” having way too much access to both merchandise as well as actual money. Secondly, if you continue to rely of a thrift store as a revenue generating tool, you should be outsourcing that to a private company who are working contractually to run those thrift facilities as agents for the PCRM. Having these facilities run by a private company with experience in managing and documenting donations and CASH would be the first step eliminating “inventory shrinkage” ( fancy word for “theft”) that is rampant in your 11th street location said Amanda Bawn, the Director of Development for the Mission. “It was evident that the community did not want it there and so we don’t want to do anything that is going to be detrimental of our neighbors.”LOL…that last statement was a doozy…since when has the rescue mission been worried about their actions “being a detriment” to their neighbors? If that were the case, they would have closed up shop years ago.
The mission is in talks with Panama City for other properties including a four acre lot off of Redwood Avenue. But, until a deal is struck nothing is set in stone. It is worthy of noting that the Rescue mission management quietly purchased on June 15th of this year, the remaining parcel of land on the block of their primary facility giving them the leverage to offer the entire block to a future buyer (http://qpublic6.qpublic.net/fl_display_dw.php?county=fl_bay&KEY=20231-000-000)
Despite the decision the Mission is expecting changes soon including the closure of one of their thrift stores.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever been in there before, but it’s unbearably hot,”The are no hotter than any other commercial warehouse in our city. This is smoke and mirrors on Ms. Bawn’s part. The thrift stores are an operational nightmare with little to no oversight. said Bawn. “It originally started as a place to sort donations that come in bail clothes that can’t be sold or given away and turn them into rags.”
But, the facility eventually turned into a thrift shop and a training ground for those transitioning into the workforce. The Mission currently has three locations for their stores, including one on Front Beach Road and Business 98. They net a little more than $20,000 dollars according to Bawn, but they are not meant to bring in money for the mission so much as help the surrounding community. What “help” does having a poorly run and managed thrift facility offer our community?
The mission is currently going through the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions for re-certification and have already been rejected by the AGRM and one of their suggestions was the move to close the 11th street location.for the reasons stated above
“It’s just too hot,” We live in Florida Ms. Bawn. Amazingly, the salvation army, Goodwill, habitat for Humanity and Humane Society each are able to operate successful thrift operations in our community inspite of the “unbearable heat”said Bawn. “And it’s really not in a great location Actually if one were inclined to operate a central warehouse for a thrift location, this building is ideal. It is zoned light commercial. It is on a street able to accommodate warehouse vehicles, it has a loading dock and multiple bay doors and the building is an older building necessitating lower rents.  and we want to try to find something better What is “better”? You mean a more expensive property? You just told us that this facility is not profitable. You operate off of community dollars (and tax dollars), why should the donating community allow you to move to a “better” location only to waste their donation dollars on a more expensive facility which gives the organization no returns? This is lunatic behavior Ms. Bawn. Your organization needs to get your priorities back in line.and just bring everything up to a higher standard.”
Bawn says regardless of where the mission moves they will still provide services for the homeless and other programs. The rumor mill tells a different storyThe hard part from here on out will be actually finding a place to do it.
“If we were to take out the Christian based or the homeless part of our mission we would no longer exist based on our current by laws,”Maybe that is a good thing..to no longer exist as you currently do. Your organization has failed time and time again.  said Bawn. “Which was what the mission was created for – that’s our purpose and that’s what we are here for.”
The board is set to discuss their budget and future locations at their board meeting Tuesday September 16th.



Another failing grade for the PCRM


In efforts to give their organization the appearance of legitimacy and to stop the tailspin of further declining revenues (down by over 80% from just five years ago according to sources), the management of the Panama City Rescue Mission have been working to affiliate themselves with the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions. (http://www.agrm.org). This umbrella organization is comprised of over 300 member missions across the nation that work together to develop and implement a set of best standards by which to run a mission organization and provide valuable services to each members community. After an operational revue by the AGRM board of directors, the decision was made to offer a failing grade to the PCRM and reject their application into the AGRM. The reasons for their failing grade are because of the PCRM’s refusal to subject themselves to a complete, third party financial and operation audit. Additionally, the lack of over site  and general  operational chaos in the thrift store locations gave the AGRM great concern about how community donations were being processed. The controls over both cash transactions as well as physical inventory raised red flags. Chambers and the BOD of the mission have allowed the thrift stores to run amuck with participants in mission programs, many with drug and alcohol addiction problems, having unmonitored access to items being processed through the thrift stores as well as actual cash. If the PCRM does not meet the standards of the Association of Gospel Rescue Mission and they refuse to accept them as worthy members, why are we as a community accepting them as a solution to providing services to our communities needy?