Published On: Sun, Feb 28th, 2016

Lambertville Food Pantry still searching for new home after Fisherman’s Mark merger ruled out

Fisherman's Mark has been relocating to the old Hibernia Fire Company building

Fisherman’s Mark has been relocating to the old Hibernia Fire Company building.

The Lambertville Food Pantry run by the Delaware Valley Interfaith Council (DVIC) continues to search for a new operating space after a potential merger with Fisherman’s Mark was ruled out. Fisherman’s Mark supports low-income individuals and families, and those in crisis.

Don Griffin, a volunteer at the Food Pantry, currently located at St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church, made clear that a finalized agreement to merge with Fisherman’s Mark never existed.

“It was incorrectly reported in the Bucks County Herald and a number of church publications,” said Griffin. “We both agreed that there wasn’t enough room for both the offices of Fisherman’s Mark and a joint food pantry.

“We couldn’t combine the two, and the two sets of clients, into less space,” continued Griffin. “This was a preliminary discussion between the two groups, before you even get out the measuring tape,” he emphasized.

The Food Pantry sponsored by DVIC serves more than 1,000 people in the greater Lambertville area each month at its current 800 square foot location at St. John’s. In contrast, the Hibernia space is 500 square feet in size, according to Food Pantry Director Joe McGrath. On the Feb. 26 PANJRadio “News You Can Use” segment, host Rob Bell said, “He [McGrath] says the smaller space at the fire house, coupled with the expected increase of new clients from the merger of up to 40 percent, makes the move a no-go.”

Fisherman’s Mark recently moved its offices from their North Main Street location to the Hibernia Fire House. The Fisherman’s Mark pantry will likely make the move in March or April. The reason for the partial move is that a fire truck remains stationed at the Hibernia location — that contract ends in March, and will free up the needed room for the Fisherman’s Mark pantry.

Linda Meacham, Executive Director at Fisherman’s Mark said, “We always welcome the DVIC reconsidering it. We’ve always shared resources, but as of now, it just won’t be in the same space . . . we obviously had to defer to their needs.” 

The Lambertville Food Pantry is supported by 15 congregations in the area and, according to Griffin, there were preliminary discussions with Fisherman’s Mark to see if both parties agreed that it would make sense to merge. It did not, according to Griffin, and thus there was “never an agreement.”

Meacham and Griffin indicated that the two groups will continue to work together. When asked how the two groups currently cooperate, Meacham gave an example: “Every Friday, they check with us to see if we have fresh food or vegetables or baked goods that won’t make it over the weekend, and they’ll come and pick it up from us, because they’re open on Saturdays.”

Griffin specified that the timing of the two pantries having to move was a coincidence. “Our challenge is to find adequate space that is convenient to the clients. What we’re least happy with is a lot of opinions based on hearsay and speculation.”

“We expect our relationship with Fisherman’s Mark to continue,” he added. “We have similar goals in the community. The difference is they were forced to move, and we’ve been asked to move. The timing was a coincidence.” Fisherman’s Mark recently sold a portion of their property at 89 N. Main St. for $212,525.

Asked about possible timing of a new space for the Lambertville Food Pantry, Griffin said the search will be finalized “soon,” and that, “We have a number of people who come in with wheelchairs, and that does influence some of the decision making.”

McGrath was quoted as saying the search has been “difficult in Lambertville, which has a tight property market.”

The DVIC has been in existence since the mid-1800s, and operating their food pantry since 1955. Fisherman’s Mark has been serving the community since 1980.

 

About the Author

- Steve Chernoski is a writer, film director and teacher who lives in Lambertville. Here's his website: http://stevechernoski.com.

Displaying 5 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. robert@robertbeck.net' Robert Beck says:

    Getting food to people who need it is just a part of what Fisherman’s Mark does. They provide a wide range of services that help people in tough situations. The homeless. The indigent. People with domestic problems. Everybody who needs help. The scope of their mission is much broader than LFP but they do collaborate on that part of it. It’s not a competition. They are both trying to help as many people as they can and deserve the support of all of us. What they do is remarkable. The problem is space.

  2. SCOTTCONSOLIEBAY@GMAIL.COM' rodriguez says:

    SO WILL THERE STILL BE A PANTRY IN THE FIREHOUSE? JUST NOT THE TWO MERGED? DOES THAT MEAN THAT THE FISHERMANS MARK WILL STILL HAVE THEIR OWN?

  3. I failed to see in this reporting why exactly the two organizations cannot merge. How are their clients different? Does it have something to do with the funding sources and management?

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