BG food pantry asked to leave PDF Print E-mail
Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Religion Editor   
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 10:26
File photo. The Bowling Green Christian Food Pantry is seen Sunday, March 16, 2014. (Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
The Bowling Green Christian Food Pantry has been seeking a new home for some time, but on Friday, the time frame to relocate became a bit more pressing.
Shirley Woessner, coordinator of the pantry, said she received a call from Greenbriar, Inc., which manages the property, giving her notice the owner, Bob Maurer, was going to be doing some renovations to the building on West Wooster Street and they had to vacate by July 1.
"I was told we needed to get a board meeting together because we had to move," Woessner said. "I don't know we can be out that soon."
Though originally portrayed to Woessner as a firm date, Maurer has since backed away from the date being absolute, but says, "I want them to be diligent about their search."
The news hit Woessner and other organizers of the pantry very hard. While everyone agrees they have outgrown the space they occupy in the former health department building, and that access is not ideal because of the steps leadingĀ  to the pantry, it was assumed the eventual move would be scheduled more in advance.
The coincidence of the call coming on the Christian observance of Good Friday was not lost on the coordinator.
"My knees went weak and I was crying," she said.
Woessner and the board and volunteers of the pantry have now intensified their search and are seeking assistance from the city, from churches or anyone else who can help them find a new home for the pantry.
Despite the news, Woessner expressed appreciation to Maurer for providing a home for the pantry.
"He's been absolutely fabulous to us. He hasn't charged us any rent for 11 years," she said.
On Monday, she missed his return call. His voice mail message indicated he was standing firm on the July 1 date.
However, Maurer told the Sentinel on Tuesday he would work with the pantry and said the July 1 date was flexible.
"I am not going to just put them out," Maurer said. "I wanted to give them as much notice as possible. We're going to work with them."
Regarding the work being planned for the building, Maurer said there are no immediate plans for the space.
He added, "We're not on a strict time table. Like all buildings, you need to do some renovations and I know they (the pantry) have outgrown their place. They need a bigger place with a little better access."
Not only are pantry officials looking for a new site, but so is Maurer.
"I know there's a spot for them but I haven't put my finger on it," the landlord said. "There's got to be a better place."
Both Woessner and Maurer know the pantry is on a tight budget, so the ideal location would not involve paying rent, though a small stipend might be required.
"They're helping out the community. Anything they do spend takes away from what they can do for the people they serve. They don't have anything extra," Maurer said. "They are some mighty fine people. They do a whale of a service for the community."
Though frustrated by all the events, Woessner said she and the board are remaining optimistic about the future.
"When I told (board president) Brent Pomeroy about the situation, he said, 'We'll find a place even if we have to pitch a tent in somebody's parking lot,'" Woessner recalled.
While that is not a likely scenario, it is more urgent that a new home be found for the food pantry.
"They do a good job. We're not going to evict them but the time has come for them to find a new home," Maurer said.

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 April 2014 12:02

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