Feeding the hungry
Local group packs 300 food boxes
More than 300 families will have a brighter Christmas season, thanks to dozens of volunteers from the Newark Area Welfare Committee who spent three days packing and distributing boxes full of food for the holidays.
“We’re helping the working poor, we’re helping the elderly and we’re helping families,” Beverly Stoudt said last Friday as she oversaw an assembly line packing effort at the First Presbyterian Church of Newark.
With 315 boxes lined up in the church’s multipurpose room, volunteers moved down the lines, dropping in canned goods, boxes of pasta, cereal, pancake mix and other food. Meanwhile, other volunteers sorted and packed bags of fresh produce.
On Saturday, families lined up at the church to pick up their box and a turkey.
Stoudt said she enjoys watching the families receive their food.
“When they leave, you can see the tension flow out of their bodies,” she said. “We’re helping them provide Christmas for their families.”
Approximately 40 volunteers helped pick up and pack the food, which was collected by more than 20 schools, churches and community groups. NAWC also received monetary donations, including $8,240 from the Newark Morning Rotary Club, which raised the money with a “ball drop” fundraiser at the Newark Country Club.
“Newark Morning Rotarians are proud to help our neighbor who does so much for our community,” Rotary Club President Joshua Martin said. “We never know when disastrous circumstances will hit any one of us.”
Among those helping pack food was Bucky Marino, who recently moved to Newark from New Brunswick, Canada.
“It’s a good use of time,” Marino said as he placed packs of ramen noodles in each box. “It’s a good way to help people.”
He said he was looking for a way to get involved in the community and found out about the NAWC project through his church, Newark United Methodist.
“I’ve got the time and energy to do it,” Marino said. “I’m getting to the age where I can’t just goof off. I’ve got to do something good.”
Elizabeth Taylor, in her fourth year volunteering, echoed those sentiments.
“I like giving back to the community,” Taylor said. “I can’t afford to give money, but I can give my time and service.”
Tammy Sharp noted that members of NAWC often split up and work on different projects, but preparing the food baskets takes an all-hands-on-deck effort.
“For this, everybody comes together,” Sharp said. “It’s amazing seeing all these boxes and knowing people are being helped.”
Bucky Marino and Tammy Sharp help pack food boxes last week as part of the Newark Area Welfare Committee’s annual food drive.