NUTLEY, NJ - Saturday's fire at the "Bike Shop Building" on Franklin Ave. is providing the community with an unexpected opportunity to come together to combat hunger in the township. There were no injuries in the fire, and the building will eventually be torn down, but in the meantime, the food pantry operation of Nutley Family Service Bureau is set to experience a major disruption.
The fire, at 307 Franklin Ave., was first reported shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday morning. The building, known as "the Bike Shop Building" and "Davis Building" is zoned as mixed use. At one time, there were two retail businesses on the first floor, and several apartments on the upper floors of wood structure building. At the time of the fire, the only tenant of the building was Saul's Upholstery Shop. One of the apartments and the bike shop serve as an extra storage space for food donated to Nutley Family Service Bureau's food pantry operation.
Eileen Painter, Executive Director of Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB), visited the builiding on Saturday afternoon with volunteer Ken Cibelli to get a grasp of what happened. "The possibility of losing the storage space, generously provided to NFSB by the Township of Nutley, is a blow. We are thankful no one was hurt in the incident. The upside is the majority of the food stored in the space has already been used in for bi-weekly distributions. We will have a better idea of what we lost when we gain access to the space this week."
"Had this happened in the weeks immediately following the food drive, the losses would have been devastating. The downside is finding space that will meet our needs for the upcoming Scouting for Food Drive." Painter added. By the end of March, the space should have been packed with food donated in the annual Scouting for Food drive.
Painter remains optimistic. "I am never quite sure how we are going to pull this off, but in all honesty I am never quite sure how we pull off 90% of what we do, but it always gets done. Our team will work hard to find a solution and the community will pull together to offer support. I have faith"
Since Saturday afternoon, a handful of people n the community "who know someone" began to reach out to friends who may have space to donate to Nutley Family Service Bureau for food storage, at least on a temporary basis. Parties who have space that may be considered are advised to call Nutley Family Service Bureau with their offer. NFSB can be reached at (973) 667-1884.
As has become tradition, TAPinto Nutley will continue coverage and reminders about the annual Scouting for Food drive, as well as share updates regarding the storage situation.
Since 2016, TAPintoNutley.net has been the only locally owned news organization serving the Township of Nutley, and is a member of the New Jersey Press Association. The Nutley Board of Commissioners first named TAPintoNutley.net the township's 'Official Electronic News Source' in 2019.