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Porch pickup a solution bare food shelves and growing number of people in need

Newark Neighbours has an escalating number of mouths to feed, for Thanksgiving dinners but also ongoing food needs.

Once again Newark Neighbours is teaming up for a porch pickup food drive, this time with the Niagara-on-the-Lake Rotary Club, St. Davids Lions Club and the Kinsmen Club.

It’s always been a successful event, and Newark food bank chair Cindy Grant is hoping for the phone calls and emails to roll in from those who plan to participate.

There are teams of drivers all set to go Sept. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and requests for pickups can be made right up until that day, when Grant says she will be finalizing her lists to hand them over to drivers.

This drive is planned to coincide with Thanksgiving food hampers — Newark is seeing a greater need than ever before, and their food supply is low.

Your porch can be anywhere in town, Grant adds — each time this has been done before, they have successfully reached 100 to 120 addresses.

Despite many generous support from Hendriks and Phil’s Your Independent Grocers, “we still have empty shelves.”

Newark had three new families who just registered this week, bringing their total up to 105 families which make up a total of 205 individuals — numbers never seen before. Some are single moms, says Grant, some are couples with one of the partners out of work, and others are recent immigrants, including Niagara College students who came to the area thinking they had enough money to cover expenses, but discovered “they don’t have nearly enough.”

Not all of those registered for the food bank want Thanksgiving hampers, “but we will need a lot of food.”

The Thrift Shop is doing very well in its new, much larger space, attracting visitors to town as well as locals who had never made it to its former, out-of-the-way location.

“You know what they say: location, location, location. Since our move the Thrift Shop has been successful beyond our wildest imagination. I can’t tell you how many people have lived in NOTL and didn’t know where we were.”

The store is starting to accept small furniture and nice household items, making the front display a place you would want to stop and shop, but Grant says they are having drop-offs outside of items they can’t sell, and have to pay to get rid of, such as large furniture or pieces in bad condition, kids’ toys, books, tools and appliances that don’t work. “We just don’t have the space, even in our expanded store.”

What they really do need are volunteers to help fill their expanded hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday, except Thursday, when it will stay open to 7 p.m. all year, thanks to how successful and profitable the later hours have been. Sundays are noon until 4 p.m. until Thanksgiving.

Most volunteers, Grant says, work half days.

“Before the move, we had about 35 to 40 volunteers. We put out a call for help and now we’re up to 57 volunteers, but some are snowbirds. And it would be nice to have some on-call.”

Residents who would like to donate to the food bank are asked to call 905-468-7498 or email [email protected]. Volunteers will pick up donations Sept. 23.

Most needed are items such as canned corn, peas, beans, applesauce or fruit; gravy, stuffing mixes and cranberry sauce, as well as crackers and cookies.

Also canned soups, meats, pasta and Kraft Dinner. There is a list of food most needed on page 10 of the Sept. 13 edition of The Local.

About the Author: Penny Coles

Penny Coles is editor of Niagara-on-the-Lake Local
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