Fall 2023 Newsletter


From the Executive Director

Dear Fisherman’s MarkJennifer Williford, Executive Director Community,

As Thanksgiving approaches and kicks off the holiday season, many of us are invariably filled with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and appreciation. Maya Angelou once said, “When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” I find that when I pause and take inventory of my life, there is so much to be grateful for and I feel truly blessed. I wanted to share some thoughts on the subject with you, our Fisherman’s Mark family.

First and foremost, I am grateful for my involvement with such an incredible organization. I often think about all the people Fisherman’s Mark has helped over the last 43 years and I’m frankly amazed. Our founding Executive Director, Barbara Petty, had a simple vision: To help those in need. From that vision, a movement blossomed and it continues to gain momentum. I wish we lived in a world where our programs and services were not needed, but that clearly isn’t the case. Demand for our food support and other programs is at an all-time high and we don’t see an end in sight.

Our wonderful Board of Directors, volunteers and dedicated staff work tirelessly to make our mission come to life each and every day, so that we’re here whenever someone needs us. I find that having such a talented group of people working day-in and day-out to meet the needs of our community makes my job a little less challenging. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do.

I am especially grateful to the donors who step-up and support our work in the community. Without you, it simply wouldn’t be possible. All of us here at Fisherman’s Mark are grateful for the monetary and in-kind donations that keep our doors open. I always sign-off my donor thank you letters “With gratitude,” mostly because I’m overwhelmed by the generosity that I witness every single day here. Each donation, regardless of the amount, makes a difference.

I am also fortunate to be surrounded by a wonderful community of service organizations, local churches and businesses who do so much to support us throughout the year, from food drives, to events, and everything in between. Together, we get the job done! Being involved with Fisherman’s Mark has taught me that offering a “hand up” feels really good and I’m sure that many of you have experienced the same thing. The true measure of a community is how it helps those who are in need and I’m proud to be a member of ours.

Many of our program participants work multiple jobs, or deal with debilitating ailments and unfortunate life circumstances, all while struggling to provide for themselves and their families in these inflationary times. Their efforts inspire me in so many ways. Witnessing their grit and determination has taught me not to judge and reminds me to be thankful for all that I have. I feel so honored to steward this incredible organization. They say that it takes a village and this village is simply the best. I am grateful to all of you and want to wish you and your families a happy and healthy holiday season!
With Gratitude,

Jennifer Williford
Executive Director

Celebrating a Spectacular Backpack Distribution Day

We are thrilled to announce the tremendous success of our recent backpack distribution day! We were able to provide 170 backpacks to the youth in our community, ensuring them a bright start to their school year.

But that’s not all! This year, we went the extra mile to make the day even more fantastic for our local families. We arranged for a Good Humor Ice Cream truck to join us, adding an extra touch of delight to this special occasion.

Thanks to the generous support of our community, the event turned out to be a memorable one.

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who contributed to making this day a resounding success!

Fisherman's Mark Launches Zero Waste Program

From spring to fall, Fisherman’s Mark Social Services receives approximately 500 pounds of fresh, organic produce every week from local farms for dissemination at their Free MARKet food pantry. Distributing this quantity quickly is a challenge due to the limited shelf life of organic food. Additionally, certain produce that is plentiful during the summertime becomes scarce during the winter months, causing prices to rise and making those items less attainable for program participants who are often already struggling to make ends meet and keep nutritious food on the table. The Zero Waste Program, launched in August, attempts to address that challenge by avoiding waste while simultaneously addressing food insecurity.

“Our objective is to offer healthy food options to our program participants year-round, not just during harvest season,” said Jennifer Williford, Executive Director of Fisherman’s Mark. Considering the surplus during the warmer months, and the shortage of healthy produce during the colder months, the nonprofit’s solution was to partner with HollyHedge Estate, a premier destination and event center in New Hope and long-time supporter of Fisherman’s Mark. Under the supervision of Chef, Jose Calderon, the surplus is prepared and preserved at the HollyHedge kitchen for future use. “This program is possible because of the generosity of HollyHedge,” Williford said.

“When we receive an order of produce, we set aside excess items that we have in stock to prevent them from losing their quality and spoiling,” explained Ricardo Zapata, Director of Operations for Fisherman’s Mark. “To preserve their freshness, we process and pack each item in the most appropriate way. Under the guidance of Chef Jose at HollyHedge, our team of volunteers peels, cuts and chops. Chef Jose then determines the best options for creating the ingredients into delicious dishes.” The final product gets vacuum-sealed for freezing. “The volunteers not only assist in the process, but also enhance their culinary skills,” 

“One of the challenges of working in the food industry is that there is so much waste of nutritious food that doesn’t make its way to people who need it,” said Tim Luccaro, General Manager of HollyHedge Estate. “The work that Fisherman’s Mark does in partnership with local restaurants, grocery stores and farms diverts food away from the mixed waste stream while also combating food insecurity which has risen from inflation. For many members of our community, inflation has caused the price of the most basic food items to increase beyond their budgets. Fisherman’s Mark provides critical support to a huge cross-section of our neighbors.”

The United States discards more food than any other country in the world: nearly 40 million tons — 80 billion pounds — every year. That’s estimated to be 30-40 percent of the entire US food supply and equates to 219 pounds of waste per person. That’s like every person in America throwing more than 650 average sized apples right into the garbage.”
Natural Resources Defense Council

The next step for Fisherman’s Mark is to survey local restaurants, bakeries, stores, etc. to find out if they have a surplus of food that they would be willing to donate to the Zero Waste Program. Future plans for the program will also include expanding into canning fruits and vegetables, as well as breaking down bulk donations. “For example, a pack of 30 pounds of meat can be cut and packed into 1-pound pouches,” Zapata said. “In the process, we will hopefully be educating new generations about old methods of food conservation, such as the blanching process, and encouraging them to explore new recipes.”

“So far, the Zero Waste Program has produced items such as peach sauce, zucchini bread, eggplant lasagna and Giardinera,” Williford noted. {Giardinera is a relish-like condiment made from a mix of cauliflower florets, carrots, bell peppers and celery.} “We’re an organization that strives to maximize efficiency and reduce waste at every level, whether it’s a financial donation from a generous supporter or a bushel of peaches donated from a local farm.”

“We are committed to this program for the long haul,” Luccaro said. “We need to break down the barriers that cause food insecurity. This program is a huge step forward toward accomplishing that.”


When it comes to making genuine connections, Glenn Ricci, the owner of AKA Salon, is a true pro. Known for his warm and caring personality, spending time with Glenn feels like catching up with an old friend. But did you know about his deep passion for helping the community?

In August, Glenn took the lead in organizing a remarkable fundraising event at the Cub Room, exclusively for Fisherman’s Mark. Glenn effortlessly drew a crowd with his magnetic charm and charisma. Even before the official start, the room was bustling with community members, eagerly mingling on what would have otherwise been just another ordinary weekday.

Drawing on his extensive network of connections, Glenn curated an impressive silent auction with an array of irresistible items and experiences. Guests had the chance to bid on enticing offerings like “A Day in New Hope”, exquisite jewelry, and stunning artwork.

The evening turned out to be a monumental success, raising an astounding amount of nearly $5,000 for Fisherman’s Mark! Glenn’s exceptional leadership and tireless efforts in coordinating this event are truly commendable. But what’s even more remarkable is his unwavering dedication to helping those in need.

Glenn’s remarkable ability to bring people together and make a difference is a true testament to his unwavering commitment to making our community a better place for all. Thank you, Glenn, for your continued generosity and for being a shining example of how one person can truly make a remarkable impact.

“Success should not be measured by how much personal wealth and comfort you provide for yourself. True success comes from your ability to use your power as a tool towards making the lives of your less fortunate neighbors better ones."
Glenn Ricci

Volunteer Spotlight: Andrew Budwig

Andrew Budwig’s journey with Fisherman’s Mark began nearly a year and a half ago, and since then, he has been a consistent presence, making a real impact on the lives of those in need. Notably, Andrew volunteers bi-weekly at both the Free MARKet and Admin office, devoting 4 to 5 hours of his time each day.

When asked about what initially inspired him to volunteer with Fisherman’s Mark, Andrew expressed that he was particularly impressed by our work providing identification cards for individuals who do not possess driver’s licenses. This vital service addresses an essential need and played a significant role in motivating Andrew to get involved.

As one of our bilingual and tech savvy volunteers, Andrew has undertaken various responsibilities, which all highlight his versatility and dedication. Some of his primary tasks include: Exploring ways to enhance the use of the Link2Feed database, conducting intakes in both English and Spanish, stocking shelves, updating menus, and assisting shoppers at the Market. He also contributes to the creation of identification cards for those in need.

These multifaceted responsibilities showcase Andrew’s invaluable contributions to Fisherman’s Mark, which extend beyond a singular role. For Andrew, the most fulfilling part of volunteering at Fisherman’s Mark is the opportunity to interact with shoppers and provide assistance with intakes and other essential services.

Andrew is also grateful for the opportunity to work alongside Ricardo, Pablo, and fellow volunteer, Pushpa, because he feels they have been fantastic mentors and coworkers. He also expressed his admiration for the dedication and positive attitude of all the volunteers at Fisherman’s Mark, making it a joyous and fulfilling environment for him.