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Niagara Falls
Monday, April 15, 2024
Newark Neighbours ready for donations

When Newark Neighbours re-opened Monday morning after a break for the holidays, the thrift shop was bustling with bargain hunters.

Within half an hour of opening the doors, shoppers had filled the aisles looking through the stock, which changes regularly.  

It was an auspicious beginning to the New Year, following a highly successful 2018, said board member Cindy Grant. Newark Neighbours used to be “the best kept secret in Niagara-on-the-Lake,” she said, though recently the charitable organization has “become more visible in the community, and more people are aware of us.”

According to Grant, donations of high-quality items for the thrift shop showed a significant increase in the latter-half of 2018, which was the 46th year of operation for the group.

In May the paper reported the charity had been suffering somewhat. She attributes much of the recent success to the Lake Report’s coverage of the charity’s community efforts.

Money raised by the thrift shop, as well as food donations, support Newark Neighbours food bank. As many as 50 local individuals and families are registered to receive food twice a month, and at Christmas, there are special holiday meal and gift hampers.

“It’s overwhelming how much food comes in the door at Christmas time, from the generousity of our donors,” said Grant.

Thirty volunteers keep Newark Neighbours running, and most have been helping for four or five years. Grant said they stay because it’s a fun, team-based atmosphere, and they all want to give back to the community.

An anecdote from the Christmas season summed up what that sometimes feels like.

“On the day for our clients to pick up the Christmas hampers, a single mom came in. When she saw the food, and the gifts, she burst into — tears of gratitude — and we felt so privileged to be able to do that for her. Our volunteers had some tears too. It reinforced why we do this.”

The food bank is the central mission for Newark Neighbours, but it also helps out in the community in other ways. Last year the group provided scholarships to six graduating high school students to help pay for their post secondary education.

Every July, all income from the thrift shop is donated to Red Roof Retreat, and clothes are annually donated both to the Prom Project in St. Catharines and the Dress for Success program at Niagara College.

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