Our History

Our Founders, Doris & Stan Michalek

St. Francis House was the vision of Doris and Stan Michalek. Following the 1964 earthquake in Alaska, Doris learned about the Anchorage-based Fraternity of Secular Franciscans. The Fraternity saw the need to help their fellow Alaskans through the hardships brought on by this traumatic event. They knew clothing, household items and food would be needed by the people devastated by the earthquake. They also recognized the financial hardships that would affect these people. It was the hope, vision and efforts of these faith-filled Alaskan Secular Franciscan’s that inspired the inception of the first St. Francis House in the “Lower48.”

Journeying Toward a Dream

1974 - St. Francis House Comes to Puyallup

Doris and Stan Michalek open a small clothing bank under the auspices of All Saints Parish.

1974 -  St. Francis House Clothing Bank Puyallup

1992 - A Board Is Born!

St Francis House achieves 501(c)3 status as a nonprofit organization with a board of directors.

1994 - A Downtown Acre

An acre of property in downtown Puyallup is purchased to allow for future growth.

1994, Property Purchased in Puyallup

1995 - Hot Meals For All

The needs of clothing bank clients inspire the development of an evening meal program.

Evening Meal Program

2000 - A Clothing Bank Building Is Built

In response to the needs of a growing clientele, a larger clothing bank is built.

2000, larger clothing bank building

2001 - ¿Habla Inglés?

As a means of supporting clients in their efforts to improve their lives, English classes for Hispanic adults are initiated.

2001, ESL classes to help clients

2009 - Celebrating 35 Years

From its humble beginnings, St Francis House had grown to be an organization whose small staff and 150+ terrific volunteers serve a total of 2,100 registered clothing bank families, 55+ hungry diners, and 45+ English students.

2011 - A Storage/Office Wing Is Opened

Inspired by client needs for conveniently located services that would strengthen their ability to improve their lives, a new wing is attached to the clothing bank.

2012 - Opening of The Nook

After three years of conducting annual Books and Treasures sales, it seemed that enough “high-end” items were on hand to open a boutique where they could be sold for reasonable prices. Proceeds from sales at The Nook would provide an additional revenue stream for the clothing bank.

The Nook Charity Boutique

Expressions of Gratitude 

Doris told Stan, “We may not have earthquake victims, but we certainly do have the poor in Tacoma which need to be served”.
– Doris Michalek, Founder

Volunteer Opportunities

I donate to be part of the solution. The needs are most often simple, clothing or food for their children. Through St. Francis House I can help with that.
— Tami L. 

Giving Opportunities

St. Francis House is such a well run organization, I have no question that the dollars I give make a large impact.
— Tom C.

Shop the Nook

The Nook is a charity boutique operated by St. Francis House. The Nook sells “twice-loved” treasures at low prices in person at our Main Street location or in our online store.