Newark Free Lunch Program issues call for help

Before the pandemic, the Newark Free Lunch Program provided over 7,800 meals annually at Emmanuel United Methodist Church. The basement dining room was forced to close last March, so volunteers prepared grab-and-go lunches that were handed out at the door. 

The number of lunches given out went up due to unemployment. In the past year, volunteers handed out 22,205 lunches. This included 162 Thanksgiving dinners and 158 Christmas dinners. Mostly adults received meals in the past, but there was an increase in the number of families with children needing lunch during the pandemic. 

“This volume has devastated our budget and we need some financial help,” managers Manny and Alice Crespo said. “In the last 28 years, we have never turned anyone away and we do not want to turn anyone away now.”

Checks can be sent to the Emmanuel UMC Newark Free Lunch Program, 301 E. Miller St., Newark, New York, 14513.

Manny Crespo hands out boxed meals for the Newark Free Lunch Program.