Newark Neighbours, a local food bank and thrift store that has been serving Niagara-on-the-Lake residents for 50 years, is looking for a new home.
Operating out of 310 John Street East since 1992, Newark Neighbours has far outgrown its current space and is reaching out to key community members and stakeholders for ideas and suggestions on a potential new location and space; a space to better serve their growing needs. A requirement wish list has been developed, including 2000-plus square feet in space. Ideally, the location will have ground floor accessibility and will afford privacy for food clients.
“We are reaching out for help finding our next location. While we love our current location, we’ve far outgrown the space. We know that, with the help of our Niagara-on-the-Lake community, we will be able to find our new perfect home,” says operations volunteer Susan Sparrow-Mace.
Cindy Grant, board chair and manager of the food bank, adds, “our volunteer teams are approaching this move with a touch of sadness, knowing that we will be leaving our home after so many years. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the management and staff at Riverbend Inn and Winery for their hospitality and support over the last 30-plus years. The sincere support of Peller Estates management and staff in the recent months, as we begin the planning for this move, is appreciated. We are looking forward to working with them in the coming months as our planning progresses into 2022.”
Founders Peggy Anderson and Nikki Aiken started Newark Neighbours in 1971, and the organization was incorporated as a not-for-profit charity in 1972. In the first few months of operation, there were 20 families on the client list and that same year, over 100 families were helped during the Christmas season. Residents offered their basements to be used as collection and clearing depots and citizens began raising money to help Newark Neighbours find a permanent home.
The organization relocated to several locations in the first few years, including the boiler room of a factory that is now the Pillar and Post Inn. From 1980 to
1991, it was located at a home on the Niagara Parkway, which was owned by Dr. Afrukteh, now the site of the Riverbend Inn & Vineyard. The Afrukteh home was converted into a museum, and a parcel of land on the property was offered to Newark Neighbours if they could raise money for a building. With a long list of volunteers and local businesses, The Barn, as it affectionately became known, was built in late 1992.
Now, 50 years since its birth, Newark Neighbours continues to operate the only food bank in Niagara- on-the-Lake, serving more than 60 families (117 individuals), with essential groceries twice a month, and special holiday celebration hampers three times a year.
The outstanding generosity and support of residents, groups and organizations in Niagara-on-the-Lake allows Newark Neighbours to provide these supplies throughout the year, says Grant.
The Newark Neighbour thrift store sells donated clothing and footwear for women, men and children, as well as jewelry, accessories, household items, small appliances, collectibles and more. The revenue from the thrift store supports the operations of the food bank.
In addition to these services, Newark Neighbours also has a bursary program for eligible graduating high school students who live in Niagara-on-the-Lake; and it regularly supports the Education Foundation of Niagara Prom Project, Niagara College Dress for Success, and Red Roof Retreat. Newark Neighbours, with its mission of “Serving our Community with Compassion, Care and Concern,” and vision “That no resident in Niagara-on-the-Lake need be hungry,” is a registered not-for-profit organization with an elected board of directors and entirely volunteer staff who rely solely on donations and thrift shop sales. To donate, or to learn more about the organization, or for information about the search for a new location, visit www.newarkneighbours.ca, call 905-468-3519 or email Grant at email@example.com.