Newark Neighbours, a local food bank and thrift store that has been serving Niagara-on-the-Lake residents for 50 years, is asking for our help.
The organization has had several homes over the decades, from a boiler room in a factory, to a large estate home on the Niagara Parkway, that was once intended as a museum, and became Riverbend Inn. In the 1990s, the location where it is currently located, beside Riverbend, was provided to Newark Neighbours, and with the help of volunteers and local businesses, the barn, as it was called with affection, where it still has had its thrift shop and food bank, was built. It is the only food bank serving Niagara-on-the-Lake. Clients can visit twice a month, and can receive a full holiday basket of groceries and other treats three times a year. All revenue from the thrift shop helps to support the food bank.
Newark Neighbours has outgrown the John Street East location, and is in need of a new home. Cindy Grant, Newark Neighbours board chair, says there is an unmet need in NOTL for the food bank, and a new location with more space would allow them to address that. She reached out to the community last fall for help finding a larger space, and is once again asking us for assistance with a location for this much-needed organization in our community to continue to operate. She and her board are looking for ideas and suggestions for a potential new site, with space to better serve the growing needs of the community — the number of families and individuals requiring assistance has doubled in the last year.
A requirement “wish list” has been developed, Grant says, including a minimum of 2000-plus square feet, ideally in a central location, with ground floor accessibility and the ability to provide privacy for food clients.
She asks, is there any available property available, any existing buildings that can be retro-fit, or any other relocation options the board hasn’t thought of?
Niagara-on-the-Lake is a community of generous people who are accustomed to seeing a need and making sure it’s fulfilled. When Newark Neighbours needs food for holiday meals or just to fill its shelves, when it asks for gifts for children, the response is instantaneous and overwhelming. Niagara-on-the-Lake looks after its own.
What they are asking for now is not as simple as buying a few extras while shopping, or making a cash donation. It may be a challenge, and likely won’t be a simple solution, but it is essential that this organization be provided space it needs so it can continue to effectively and efficiently serve the needy in NOTL.
Surely if some of you smart, visionary people in NOTL, so accustomed to problem-solving, put your heads together, you can come up with an idea, a piece of land, an existing building, something that could be the future of Newark Neighbours, and the work it must continue to do for this community.
Please reach out to Grant and her board of directors at 905-468-3519, or firstname.lastname@example.org.