Walker’s Country Market has been donating pies to Newark Neighbours each holiday season for the past 10 years now – and Walker’s participation continues to grow along with the community’s need.
For Thanksgiving this year Cindy Grant, along with the helping hands of other volunteers, assembled 82 baskets of food for families in need.
Each basket included the client’s choice of either a turkey or a ham, bags of potatoes, carrots and onions, along with stuffing, fixings, juice and a freshly baked, made-from-scratch pumpkin pie from Walker’s.
Grant said Jim Walker, the owner of Walker’s Country Market, is always a big help during the holidays.
“We do this at Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas and he donates pies every time,” she told The Lake Report.
Grant added that only three years ago, Newark Neighbours was servicing 30 families and the need has grown exponentially. Walker is still happy to help.
“I had to call him and almost cringe when I said, ‘Jim I’m so sorry I ended up needing 85 pies.’ ” (She asked for a few extras, just in case.)
He said, “ ‘Not a problem Cindy. Don’t worry about it,’ ” Grant recalled.
For Walker, being able to help out a Niagara-on-the-Lake cause is something close to the heart and one that he and his family are dedicated to continuing.
“I grew up in Niagara-on-the-Lake, our family has been here since the 1920s,” he said.
“What we do is right here on-site and they’re a (NOTL) agency that helps out the less fortunate. It’s just a perfect match,” he said.
Even with this year’s whopping need for more than 80 pies, Walker said all the baking is done the day the pies are delivered to Newark Neighbours, ensuring that clients get the freshest dessert possible for their Thanksgiving celebration.
“I thought it’d be nice to get a homemade pie from scratch, rather than a grocery store pie from the factory,” Walker said.
He added that his daughter Bethany Picek is a huge helping hand when baking 85 pies in one morning and that along with three to four other helpers, it wouldn’t be possible.
Grant and the Newark Neighbours volunteers distributed Thanksgiving meal baskets from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.
“We ask our clients to come and pick up, and the vast majority did. There’s a few that don’t have access to transportation so we delivered to around six families,” Grant said.
Grant also thanked the community and all Newark’s volunteers, whom she said all have their hearts in the cause.
“I am grateful once again to this community for providing all of that food so that we could make those 82 families’ Thanksgiving a good holiday,” she said.
“I’m grateful and blessed to have a wonderful team of volunteers who make it fun and make it enjoyable.”