Orting nonprofit moving forward after alleged theft by former director

ORTING, Wash. — Investigators believe that for over a year the former director of Recovery Café in Orting used the nonprofit as her personal piggy bank.

Rena Kay Thompson has pleaded not guilty to charges she stole thousands from the organization.

“Our services have increased since she’s left,” said Anthony Kagochi, the new director of The Recovery Cafe in Orting.

Kagochi, a familiar face at The Recovery Cafe, has taken on the role of director following Rena Thompson’s departure. As one of the cafe’s founding board members, he was instrumental in establishing this location in 2018.

Kagochi adds that the mishandling of funds “is not just the taking of the money; it’s “also the mismanagement of the business.”

The Recovery Cafe has over 60 locations across North America. The services they offer within the community are vast and aimed at helping adults and adolescents. “When individuals go into treatment or go to a place to get well, they often get let out, and there’s no support for them afterward,” said Kagochi. He went on to tell us that, in short, The Recovery Cafe is designed to “fill the gaps for people living a life of recovery.”

However, the word “recovery” has many meanings at this community center. “I think the misconception of places like this is that ‘oh, there’s just a bunch of homeless...there are a lot of people with jobs that are struggling. There are a lot of people that are just like you and me. I think we’re all just a few decisions away from not having what we have,” said Kagochi.

Four programs are currently available at the Orting location, with more grants allowing even more opportunities to grow.

When it comes to finances and transparency, Anthony Kagochi says one person’s actions don’t define the work they do or services they provide, but since taking over, he has implemented some changes to ensure that transparency is never a problem moving forward, “We created a leadership team for checks and balances we didn’t want to recreate the whole the directors at the top and no one knows what they’re doing…we also have some other audits going on, and so we’re trying to take all the measures that we can be transparent and safe to the community.”