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Tuesday, January 31, 2023
Editorial: Making a difference in the community
The Lake Report's weekly editorial.

Like Niagara-on-the-Lake, our community food bank and thrift store is growing, changing and moving with the times.

Newark Neighbours has always been associated with Old Town – and even draws its name from the town’s historic moniker.

Long having outgrown its location near the Riverbend Inn on John Street East, it is gratifying to see that Newark Neighbours has found a new place to call home, one that met its many criteria (easily accessible, a storefront with high visibility, among other requirements).

In a few months, the former Lincoln Interiors store on Niagara Stone Road in Virgil will provide a spacious and much-needed new site for this important community service.

Living in a caring and affluent town like Niagara-on-the-Lake, it’s easy to forget that not everyone has it easy.

As Newark chair board Cindy Grant told us, food bank usage since 2020 has more than doubled. In real numbers, what was 30 visits a month barely two years ago is now 80 – and it’s not dropping.

The volunteers who sort goods at the food bank and thrift store are the backbone of such a community-driven operation.

Their selflessness and help are commendable. Without these many volunteers, this vital social service agency simply would not be able to operate.

All the folks in the community who give goods and food to Newark Neighbours provided plenty of donations for these volunteers to sort and itemize – and, as Grant has told us many times, those donations make a difference in the lives of the clients of the agency. People who might be your neighbours.

Thanks to organizations like Newark Neighbours, every so often we hear a heart-warming and touching tale related to the work it does.

This week it is the story of young Avery London, who is about to turn 10.

Instead of seeking toys and gifts for himself, Avery told his mom Krista he’d like to collect donations for the food bank.

As a student at Crossroads Public School, he learned about the needs of some people in the community and he selflessly decided he could help. And make a difference.

Thanks to his mom’s position as an “influencer” on TikTok, over just a few days they have accumulated a large number of donations, including cash, in response to Avery and his mom putting the word out.

And they’re just getting started.

Kudos to Avery for showing that a single person can make a difference, in their community and in the lives of others.

It really is touching and a feel-good story, the kind we love to tell readers about.

But it also is a compelling human saga about the power of social media and of one boy to be the change, and to inspire change, in his community.

We all can learn a lot from the unselfish actions of this almost 10-year-old. Thank you, Avery, for showing what is possible.

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