What's next for St. Vincent de Paul food pantry?
Photo: Video by fox4now.com
CREATED Jun. 18, 2013
FORT MYERS, Fla. - It was business as usual at Saint Vincent de Paul food pantry Tuesday morning.
"We have helped about 300 people today. They get here as early as 6:30 a.m., the doors open at 9 a.m. and we close at 11 a.m.," volunteer John Kopp said.
But that generosity is still in jeopardy, unless volunteers, the city and the neighborhood can come together.
The city's Code Enforcement Board said a number of neighbors have complained the pantry causes traffic problems.
Saint Vincent de Paul has a conditional business license and has to follow 11 conditions at all times. But the Code Board says it was violating two of those conditions by letting clients park in an unpaved lot and on the street.
Volunteers said they have been working to fix the problems.
"We put in handicapped parking, we've added stones, we've added signs, we have added people to try and move the traffic along," Kopp said.
And Monday night Fort Myers City Council voted to give them more time
But how long will it take?
"It depends," Saint Vincent de Paul Treasurer Ned Haile said. "It depends on the requirements, if we have to find another location that's not going to happen in 30 days or 60 days. If we have to pave the parking lot, that takes time."
Volunteers will now begin brainstorming with the city, but it's ultimately up to the Code Board to decide what has to be done and how much time the pantry has to do it.
"Our primary mission is to serve the poor and anything that detracts from that is contrary to our mission," Haile said.