On Sept. 23, officially designated by the town as Newark Neighbours Day, a handful of concerned residents and an army of donors collected a ton of food and more than $3,200 in cash donations, for the almost 50-year-old organization.
The Newark Neighbours food bank helps ensure food security for area residents in need and Cindy Grant, the food bank's volunteer manager, was ecstatic.
By day's end, she and her team had completely sorted the food donations and personal hygiene items, ready for packaging for this year’s Thanksgiving distribution to as many as 47 NOTL families.
“Beyond Thanksgiving, these donations will even serve as a solid foundation for the Christmas holiday program of food hampers and gifts,” said Grant.
“Our sincere and heartfelt thanks go out to the organizers of the Community Food Drive and to the entire Niagara-on-the-Lake community for your generosity and support.”
Four local businesses helped promote the campaign and collect donor food packages and cheques: Phil’s Valu-mart, Virgil Avondale, Simpson's Pharmacy, and the Niagara on the Lake Golf Club. In addition, there were a dozen team leaders throughout the community motivating donors in their own neighbourhoods.
The campaign was the brainchild of Syme Jago, who with her husband Adrian Goldberg came up with the idea during a Zoom conversation with friends and neighbours in the heart of the early pandemic.
After hearing about the great work of Newark Neighbours during the chat and how much the organization needed community help, Jago said, “Let’s do something about it.”
A small trial run in June demonstrated how much the community wanted to help and drove the second campaign on Newark Neighbours Day.
“It’s overwhelming, truly overwhelming,” said Jago. “And honestly, with dozens of people helping it was surprising how little work it was. Thank you, Niagara-on-the-Lake.”