CREATED Jun. 17, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - Fort Myers City Council made a last minute decision to give the Saint Vincent De Paul food pantry more time before it's forced to close its doors.
Council unanimously approved a motion to delay the pantry's closing to gather more information and work with the neighborhood and volunteers.
"To shut this down, would be a great disservice to the community," Ned Haile, Treasurer of Saint Vincent De Paul, said.
The food pantry was given a cease and desist notice at the end of April because of traffic problems. The Code Enforcement Board said it received multiple complaints from the neighborhood.
"People parked in the street, at intersections, loading and unloading groceries and its just too unsafe for themselves and their community," Board Member William Bailey said.
Last Thursday, the food pantry had a hearing with the Board, where it was ordered to close its doors by June 11, or pay $100 a day in fines.
The largest food pantry in Lee County, Saint Vincent De Paul gives out more than one million pounds of food a year, feeding between 300-400 families twice a week and offering financial help to dozens more.
Haile said keeping the food pantry open is critical, so they have already been making changes, like roping off no parking zones and even having a volunteer manage traffic.
"He is equipped with a reflective vest and also has a bull horn," Haile said.
But some neighbors say they don't think the traffic is a problem. One told Fox 4 "it does not bother me at all I think it's a great thing they're doing."
And the pantry wants to keep on doing great things.
"The perceived harm versus the benefit, the benefits clearly outweigh the perceived harm," Haile said.