Although most people in Niagara-on-the-Lake are aware of Newark Neighbors and the work it does in the community, there are always newcomers to town who are surprised to hear there is a food bank and thrift shop to help out those in need.
Newark Neighbours was established by Peggy Anderson in 1972, originally to help seasonal agricultural workers who come to town to work on local farms. She collected clothes and household items she would sell, in the early days, for $5 for a full garbage bag. Farm workers continue to shop there, purchasing items for themselves and to send home to their familes.That helped to finance the food bank, which helped families who were having trouble getting by.
he money from the retail shop helps fund items needed for the food bank.
Newark Neighbours remains the only non-profit organization that provides food for local residents in financial need, determined by their income and Statistics Canada.
It is run by a board of directors and about 30 volunteers. The food bank is aided by the generous donations from local organizations and individuals, said volunteer Cindy Grant.
Food stocks can rise and fall depending on donations and the demand for food, but at the moment, said Grant, food supply is in good shape thanks to a generous donation from St. Michael Catholic School, and more is expected to come in next week from St. Mark's Church, where bins for non-perishable food will be put out during the annual Cherry Festival.
For the thrift shop, though, they can always use clothing for the farm workers, bedding, small household appliances, pots and pans and dishes, says Grant.
For more information about the food bank call Marion at 905-468-3519. Newark Neighbours is located at 310 John St. (turn into the Riverbend Inn driveway and Newark's entrance is to the right). It is open Monday to Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as Sundays, same hours, April to October to accommodate farm workers.