How 'The Other Lucy' in Margate, NJ, empowers those with disabilities

Matteo Iadonisi Image
Monday, July 31, 2023
How 'The Other Lucy' in Margate, NJ, empowers those with disabilities
A small beach grille neighboring the famous elephant is where people with an intellectual disability can truly shine.

MARGATE, New Jersey (WPVI) -- For nearly 150 years, shoregoers have been fascinated with Lucy the Elephant. But just beneath the iconic roadside attraction is a newly-opened business with a mission beyond simply serving food.

The beachside shack is no stranger to food service. But its new owner, the fittingly-named Lucy Paccione, has given it a new purpose.

"I wanted to provide job training skills for those who don't really have a voice," said Paccione, who was initially inspired by her cousin's daughter, who has autism.

The 15-year-old dream finally found footing when there was a vacancy in the property that would become "The Other Lucy Beach Grille."

And her first star employee is 16-year-old Drew Scheffey of Horsham, Pennsylvania, who also has autism.

"I was looking for a job because it was hard to find a job that hires people with disabilities," said Scheffey. "And I finally did, and I finally know how to do a few things that can be useful in my life."

Scheffey fills out a full shift by working the cash register, running food orders, slicing hot dogs and labeling boxes.

He has aspirations of becoming employed by Wawa when he reaches adulthood.

"You have to believe in yourself and make sure to be independent for the later future."

In addition to starting a new business, Paccione created a nonprofit, "H.O.P.E," which stands for Helping Others Pursue Empowerment. She has a fundraising goal in order to create a year-round training curriculum where graduates with a disability can be funneled into the workforce.

"I am starting as much as I can here," she said. "But I really want it to be a classroom setting, a job training center to help others to be independent, to be able to live on their own if they would like to, and to be able to go to work and feel not judged."

To learn more about The Other Lucy and their hours of operation, visit their website.

RELATED: Ocean City jewelry store to bid farewell after 50+ years on the boardwalk

Henry's Landmark Jeweler will wave goodbye to the Ocean City boardwalk after half a century charming shoregoers.