Thrift store and food bank has outgrown its John Street site
With little space and a community in need of its services, Newark Neighbours board chair Cindy Grant is pleading for residents’ attention as the agency searches for a new location to keep up with the growing demand for a helping hand.
Now located at 310 John St. E., Newark Neighbours has been serving the community for 30 years with a thrift shop and food bank.
With the high volume of donations coming into the small shop, space is at a premium.
“Our food bank is just a series of three shelves and a couple of counters,” said Grant.
With the lack of space, she worries about meeting the need when Newark has to limit donations.
What started as a “food bank and a place where people could donate clothes” has evolved into a proper thrift store where they “get a lot of donations regularly, seven days a week, almost 24 hours a day.”
The pandemic has sparked a surge in the number of clients coming through the doors, Grant said.
Newark Neighbours felt the hardships many other operators in town faced during the pandemic as it was closed for most of 2020 and for several months in 2021, said Grant.
In terms of the clients, she said, “We’re seeing the impact of the pandemic on individuals living in our community and their need for increased services.”
“Our numbers of our clients are going up every week. We are around 72 to 73 clients now.”
With the help of both the staff and the community, Grant said “we have regular visitors that we can count on, that come in every week religiously.”
So when looking for a new place to better serve the needs of the community, Grant said “we would prefer a central location where we are visible and our clients can have easy access.”
Ideally, that means Old Town, Virgil or along Highway 55 “and not tucked away in a corner.”
From what started as a small food bank, that grew into a staple for the community Grant reflects Newark Neighbours is “honestly the best-kept secret in town. We have great things at a very reasonable price.”
The agency’s regular hours are Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For more information about helping out or donating to help Newark Neighbours and the community, call 905-468-3519 or visit the website newarkneighbours.ca.