After operating out of the homes of its volunteers and organizers and donated business space for more than three decades, an Olympia area animal-rescue organization finally will have a place to call home by early next year.
Concern for Animals, a nonprofit that provides low-income and down-on-their-luck pet owners with pet food and help with pet medical care costs, is moving to a permanent address on State Street in downtown Olympia, with plans to open to the public in March.
The organization has grown through the years to include a food bank, minimal sheltering for cats in partnership with local pet stores, and funds for spaying, neutering or pet checkups, as well as medical emergencies.
“A lot of people only do emergency calls, but we try to change that and go do medical exams,” said Janey Hanson, director of Concern for Animals. “If a dog is ill, people can’t afford to take it to the vet. We cover the visit so they can diagnose what’s wrong and find out the next steps.”
The new office will make things much easier for the staff. When people call the nonprofit’s office line now, the office manager answers at home. Donated food is piled up in board members’ garages, and board members have no designated area to meet potential volunteers.
But those inconveniences will be over once $36,000 worth of upgrades is finished at the home purchased by the organization last year with funds saved through events and donations.
The home will be used for office space and storage. Two part-time workers who answer phones and assist the eight-member board will work out of the new location.
The hope is to one day move the pet food bank from Rick’s Automotive Repair off Pacific Avenue to the downtown house, a move that would cost $8,000.
Donations have increased over the years. Concern for Animals has received more than $17,000 in food donations this year, as well as $2,500 from Petco for food.
Volunteers distributed 437 bags of dog food and 231 bags of cat food from its food bank last year.
“It gets busier and busier every week,” Hanson said.
Volunteers think moving the food bank will help make it more visible and bring in more donations.
“It’s really nice that Rick’s Automotive allows this on their property,” said Gayle Klostermeyer, a volunteer from Lacey. “Unfortunately, it’s a little bit hidden, and people are not really aware it’s there.”
The organization has been working with the City of Olympia for a year since purchasing the 1900s-era home, Hanson said.
“We hope to be open for public access in March to get supplies, food, come in the office and make donations, and then it’s a place for volunteers to have a hub to meet,” she said.
The property is mainly being used for storage until construction is done.
John Erwin Remodeling in Olympia donated time to help work up plans and help with city permits.
Concern for Animals now is in the process of hiring a contractor to complete an estimated six weeks of upgrades to the house, Hanson said.
“I think that once they get the house taken care of that it’s going to be great,” said two-year volunteer Judy Covell, who lives on Olympia’s west side. “I think it’s already nice to now have a place to keep stuff and to meet, so I think once the whole project is fully realized, it’s going to be a big help to them.”
Online: www.concern foranimals.org.theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer