The Community FoodBank on the Black Horse Pike has always sparkled and caught the attention of passing motorists - the result of a jaw-dropping mural that was built into just about every square inch of its outside walls, a mural shimmering with mosaic tiles and detailed inlay. The building itself always seemed to say that even when times are tough and money is short, there is joy and beauty in life and in helping others.
I always figured that the clients served by the FoodBank got a little lift from seeing that remarkable piece of art.
So I was saddened to see our recent story on how the FoodBank - stretched by a huge number of additional people needing food because of the recession - has outgrown the building, how it plans to demolish it and build another, and how it simply can't save a massive piece of art that is built right into the walls.
Food is the most basic human need. And the FoodBank's mission is to provide food for the hungry. That's where it's dollars have to go.
But I talked to someone at the FoodBank this week to see if anything could be done - if somehow, for example, the walls could be preserved and put up elsewhere on the site.
The outlook isn't good. The FoodBank really, really would like to save the murals. But the site is tight. Where would the walls go during construction? How would they get there?
I'm a writer, not an engineer or a contractor. So I don't have the answer. But this much seems clear to me: What the FoodBank needs is someone- maybe a community-minded builder or contractor - who might offer their services to figure out a solution and perhaps donate space and equipment.
Maybe there isn't a solution, I don't know. But the FoodBank can't use money that should go toward food for devising elaborate and expensive solutions to the mural dilemma. So if the walls are to be saved, it's got to be a community, volunteer effort.
It would be such a shame to lose this striking, beautiful landmark - both for the local area and for the people who go there to get food for their families, people whose numbers have grown frighteningly quickly during the past few years.