Summer 2023 Newsletter


From the Executive Director:

Jennifer Williford, Executive Director

Jennifer Williford
Executive Director

Summer is such a busy time at Fisherman’s Mark. Our staff and team of volunteers are in high gear managing the additional summertime programs. We work hard to provide farm fresh, nutritious produce to our program participants during the growing and harvest season. And with school being out of session, there are extra needs for childcare and home meals that would otherwise be served at school. 

The Farmstand is available every Wednesday from June through September, at our Free MARKet. We offer aabundance of fresh summer vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes and corn from our agency partners; Rolling Harvest Food Rescue, America’s Grow-a-Row, and other local farmers. Empowerment is an important part of our mission, so each week a service provider or local chef shows up at the Farmstand to educate our clients on topics such as heart-healthy meals, or SNAP benefits.

Our Summer Camp Program takes place at the Lambertville Academy Early Childhood Learning Center. This year, eight children will attend thanks to tuition assistance from the Jim Hamilton Campership Program. These are children who would otherwise be home, requiring expensive childcare. Or in many cases, parents who can’t afford childcare are unable to work. The Summer Camp Program makes sure these children are playing with friends, going on field trips, enjoying summertime and creating wonderful memories in a safe and supervised environment. 

The FLY (Feeding Local Youth) Summer Program is now in full swing. We provide five lunches per week to children attending camp. Volunteers assemble these healthy lunches, one for each day of the week, that also include snacks, games and arts and crafts. Parents stop by and pick them up on Monday morning.

It’s important to note that none of this would be possible without all of you, our generous donors and hardworking volunteers. It’s YOU who keep our doors open and programs running smoothly all year round! Thank you for helping to make summertime even better for our neighbors! 

With Gratitude,

Jennifer Williford
Executive Directoe

Volunteer Spotlight: Phil Somogyi

If you have called the Free MARKet on a Thursday – you have most likely spoken with Phil. For the past 8 years, Phil has been a staple in the Fisherman’s Mark community. What initially began as just a desire to assist at the pantry, has led to him executing every volunteer role under the sun. From bagging groceries and answering phones to client intakes and assisting with social services, Phil has really done it all. 

His current undertaking is the pivotal role of assisting program participants in placing their mobile Free MARKet orders. Every Thursday, Phil speaks with program participants directly – patiently reading off menu options and notating their orders. For many of these program participants, speaking with Phil is the highlight of their week. What they may not know is that Phil is equally as grateful to chat.


He states simply: “We have never met but we know each other’s likes and dislikes.” Phil’s ability to make program participants feel both comfortable and understood, is an invaluable gift to our organization.

"It's really heartening to see all the people volunteer and also the people who are really thankful for the food market."
Phil Somogyi

Around the World in 60 Days!

Imagine being able to send your child to a summer day camp where they could make new friends, attend intuitive field trips, and learn about different countries and cultures. Now imagine that this summer day camp is also incredibly affordable and caters to every income level by offering scholarships. This might sound like a fever dream, but I can assure you that this camp exists and it’s right in our backyard.

Lambertville Academy’s Arts & Adventure Summer Camp is a 12 week long program for both preschool and school aged children ages 2-12. The program is designed to support working families by operating Monday through Friday from 7am until 6pm.

Lambertville Academy Director, Lisa Millisvana, puts immense care and creativity into designing the theme of the camp each year – this year she went with: “All Around the World”. Each week has an assigned country – with all activities centered around the cultures and traditions of that specific country.

The weeks are filled with activities like: cooking culturally inspired foods, Qigong classes, nature walks, and water activities! The program is even complete with weekly field trips to places like the Children’s Museum, Birdhouse Music Center, and a local arcade.


On top of all of these incredible activities, Lambertville Academy has a strong focus on affordability. This summer alone, several scholarships were offered to families who would otherwise be unable to afford the program.

Lambertville Academy is a year round early childhood learning center under the Fisherman’s Mark umbrella. Their school year program operates from September through June and offers before and after care as an additional cushion for working families.

For more information please visit:

“We feel so fortunate to have received scholarships the last two years to help our son attend summer camp at Lambertville Academy! Lambertville Academy provides such a memorable summer camp experience blending traditional camp activities with the unique activities our small walkable town offers! The children have such incredible opportunities to explore the neighborhood and community as well as local nature. All the while receiving creative, educational, and social enrichment.”
Parent of a Scholarship Awardee
"His favorite activity at summer camp is making up games that he and his friends can play. With the help of their teacher, they were able to create a new card game out of cardboard starring all kinds of mythical creatures. He tells me about this card game almost every day, so his imagination is definitely being stimulated and fostered at LA."
Parent of a Scholarship Awardee

Program Spotlight: Los Puentes - A Historical Overview

“Los Puentes” is Spanish for “The Bridges”. At Fisherman’s Mark Social Services, the Los Puentes program serves as a bridge to our Latino neighbors for information, advocacy, and involvement in the community. Many local Latinos have come to rely on the services that Fisherman’s Mark provides, such as our food support programs, the Lambertville Academy Early Childhood Learning Center, and our social services programs. Los Puentes functions as a trusted helpmate that looks to address the concerns and aspirations of Spanish-speaking natives in and around Lambertville.

“The Los Puentes outreach program is one of our most-needed programs and will likely see the most growth in the coming months and years,” said Jennifer Williford, Executive Director of Fisherman’s Mark. “Nearly 40% of our clients are Latino. They are an important part of the mosaic of this community and add tremendous value to our economy as a strong part of the workforce in the Lambertville/New Hope area,” she said. “We want them to have every opportunity to thrive.”

The Los Puentes program was created after the 2016 election, when a fear of mass deportation took hold in the local Latino community. Fisherman’s Mark organized a meeting with the Mayor of Lambertville, the Chief of Police, and an immigration attorney to help assuage fears, explain that Lambertville is a sanctuary city, and what that means.

In the meeting’s aftermath, the Hunterdon Community ID Program was initiated to provide identification for local Latinos, identifying them as trusted community members and making them less fearful and more trusting of local law enforcement.

For the 2020 census, Los Puentes reached out to the Latino community directly. As a result, the response rate increased from 60% to 75%. Ricardo Zapata, Fisherman’s Mark Operations Director remarked, “When more people complete the census, there are more resources from the state for hospitals, schools, roads, etc.”

During the pandemic in 2020, Fisherman’s Mark launched a vaccination program. Los Puentes’ outreach helped to gain trust, support, and participation among Latinos. “The program was free, safe, and provided protection for 150 participants,” Zapata said.

The outreach that Los Puentes provides bridges cultural gaps. In 2021, the Lambertville Library conducted a community-wide survey in which none of the local Latino community participated. Fisherman’s Mark activated the Los Puentes program and re-launched the survey, but in a different format. “Instead of just putting the questions through Google Translate, we utilized our food pantry hours to have live conversations with the participants,”  Zapata said. The conversations that resulted uncovered the Latino community’s desire for empowerment classes, which were subsequently offered at the library. Fisherman’s Mark provided the outreach, childcare, and meals for the program.

In 2022, a teen focus group revealed that Latino parents didn’t fully understand the benefits of a secondary education, and that most, if not all, college application assistance is available only in English. As a result, a “Path to College” seminar was offered at Fisherman’s Mark’s Lambertville Academy last September. Over 50 students and parents participated. It was such a success that Fisherman’s Mark will repeat the event in the fall of 2023.

Through Los Puentes, the Latino population was invited by the Hunterdon County School District to participate in their strategic planning for the coming school year. “We helped facilitate and translate the input the superintendent was seeking as part of their strategic planning process,” said Doug Shaw, a fluent Spanish-speaker and member of the Fisherman’s Mark Board of Trustees. Fisherman’s Mark was there to ensure Latino voices were heard.

As a result of focus groups conducted in 2022, Fisherman’s Mark uncovered the need for structured English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. September through May, Fisherman’s Mark will be hosting two classes per week in both basic and intermediate English at our 60 Wilson Street and Lambertville Academy locations. The literacy program is federally funded and administered by the County. Funding has been approved for up to 35 students and includes all the necessary online resources.

“There are so many biases about minorities, but most that are here consider this home and just want to create roots and integrate with the rest of the community,” Zapata said.  “We’re helping them do that. There is now a second generation of Latinos that grew up here. Many went away to college and when they graduate, they come back to be close to their families. You don’t just see them landing skilled labor jobs. Many have management positions or own businesses. Lambertville is a safe space for them and a wonderful place to call home.”

“My experience with the Latino community and their culture is that they are collectively warm, appreciative, and hard-working. I feel honored that we have the resources to provide support to those who weren’t born here and have traditionally been both underserved and vulnerable,” Williford said. “Fisherman’s Mark will continue to forge connections and create opportunities for them to succeed.”

Bridges link in both directions! All are welcome to attend a celebration at the Lambertville Library on August 20th from 4pm-8pm when the Latino community will celebrate Oaxaca Day. The celebration, organized by the Lambertville Library and the Oaxacan community, will feature native dances, food and arts and crafts from the Oaxaca region of Mexico. Please join the Fisherman’s Mark community in enjoying and appreciating this rich culture!