Just as Santa does while making his rounds on Christmas Eve, a pair of anonymous donors came to Newark Neighbours bearing gifts, not wanting to make a scene.
The two donors – both men – slipped into Newark Neighbours’ Niagara Stone Road location and, with no fanfare, dropped off sizable donations of cash — one for $1,000 and another for $5,000.
Both donations were welcomed by Cindy Grant, the organization’s director. Cash donations, she said, go a long way toward purchasing more food, especially items that are not high on the list for most donors, such as coffee.
“Both Phil Leboudec at Phil’s Independent and Tony (Hendricks) at Hendricks give us (food) almost at no cost,” she said.
That means more food on the shelves to help the 131 families in Niagara-on-the-Lake that are relying on Newark Neighbours’ food bank to keep their pantries stocked.
Additionally, 105 families will be receiving Christmas hampers from the agency filled with everything needed for a holiday dinner including a turkey or ham.
A separate toy drive means Christmas will be brighter for the 77 children from families helped by Newark Neighbours.
The cash donations come at a time when the town has rallied to help the organization for its Christmas campaign and beyond, Grant said.
“Most of the wineries, Two Sisters, Peller, Jackson Triggs,” Grant said. “I just made a pickup from the Irish Harp. Niagara Motors has (completed) a huge collection.”
Others coming through for the agency included Niagara-on-the-Lake Hydro, the Shaw Festival, Exchange Brewery, the Pumphouse Holiday Market, Pleasant Manor, St. Mark’s Church, St. Andrew’s, St. Vincent DePaul and all the public and Catholic schools.
“It goes on,” Grant said.
All of the help will mean Newark Neighbours will be able to provide families with what they need over the holidays thanks to the community. By all accounts, donations – food, toys and cash – have surpassed those collected in 2022.
“Last year, we had a substantial amount by the end of the season,” Grant said. “We had a substantial amount of cash donations. This year, it seems to be the pattern again.”