The Newark Food Closet has recently received generous donations of food and money from local citizens, area businesses and organizations.

The Newark Food Closet has recently received generous donations of food and money from local citizens, area businesses and organizations.

The residents of Newark and Arcadia donated 2,000 pounds of food to the annual Newark Post Office Food Drive which was held June 4 through 9.  Community residents also donated food to the Newark Teachers’ Association Food Drive at the recent Newark Central School District Budget Vote. Perkins School, Lincoln School, Kelley School, Middle School, and High School have all held various events during the school year. The Newark High School Art Department held their Empty Bowls project in April which generated $4,000.  

Many churches, including Redeemer Lutheran, First United Methodist, St. Michael’s, Park Presbyterian, and Woodlane Community Church organize special events or collect food at their weekend services. St. Mark’s and St. Michael’s  Youth Groups organized events to collect money and food. Girl Scout Troop 40063 collected food and Troop 40022 assembled Birthday Bags to be given to families with children to assure they will have a special birthday cake.

Reliant Bank collected food for a week.  Newark Garden Club, TOPS, and Curves collect food from their members. Strangers Helping Strangers collects food at the various music events they coordinate. United Way and Red Cross organized a county-wide Day of Caring with local donations distributed by Mike Barnard Chevrolet. The Dr. Pepper/Snapple Group in Williamson also donated fruit and juice to this event. Superior Truck Lines of Port Gibson are very generous in their food donations.

A group of women held a shower for a friend and collected 25 bags of food in lieu of shower gifts. The Wal-Mart Foundation and IEC Electronics have made generous monetary donations.  Private donations of food and money have been received from many individuals and families.

The Newark Food Closet began at St. Michael’s Church in 1972 to serve their own Parishioners who were in need. By 1981, as more community residents became aware of the program, supervision of the program was turned over to TIC – Together in Christ – a consortium of Churches in Newark. In 1984, the Food Closet was moved to its current location in the basement of the Municipal Building at 100 E. Miller St.

The Food Closet is staffed entirely by 90 volunteers who selflessly donate their time and energy a few hours a month. Shoppers purchase and deliver the perishable foods. Stockers sort and organize the donated food. Workers hand out the food with dignity and respect to the families.

Since Jan. 1, the Newark Food Closet has distributed food 425 times to 265 households in the village of Newark and the town of Arcadia. Nearly 850 adults and 600 children have taken advantage of this worthwhile service. Individuals and families may receive food up to six times in a year.

The Newark Food Closet is open Monday through Friday at 3:30 p.m. in the basement of the Municipal Building.  Persons in need of food must apply at the Red Cross office at 331-3783, 400 S. Main St., on the day food is requested. They will receive a Referral Form which is then presented at the Food Closet. Each family will receive 3 to 4 days of food as supplies last.

The Food Closet depends entirely on donations of food and money. Financial donations are used to purchase perishable items. With the ever-increasing numbers of families needing assistance and with summer approaching when the children are at home, the need for food and monetary donations will be on the rise. To learn more about the Newark Food Closet, to volunteer, or to donate food or money, contact Co-coordinators Joanne DePauw at 331-6705 or Dolly Velte at 573-0149.