Food drive spreads holiday cheer
NAWC hands out 330 meal baskets
The dreary weather on Saturday morning didn’t stop the Newark Area Welfare Committee from spreading holiday cheer.
Saturday was the conclusion of an effort that collected thousands of pounds of food for those in need. Recipients lined up at the First Presbyterian Church of Newark while volunteers helped load the 330 food boxes onto dollies and walked them to the parking lot.
Mayor Polly Sierer, who serves as president of NAWC, said it was truly a community effort that brought the event together for another year.
Numerous schools, churches and day cares collected food for NAWC. Sierer noted that Hodgson Vo-Tech, Newark Charter School Middle School and Newark Charter High School all donated upward of 3,000 items.
“These three schools usually provide contributions. This year, they went above
and beyond and collected more food than ever before,” she said.
Volunteers spent the previous two days sorting the food and packing it into boxes.
Of the more than 300 people to receive a food box, 59 were seniors from Main Towers and elsewhere, and 43 were Spanish-speaking residents, Sierer said.
Assisting the Spanishspeaking families on Saturday were Christiana High School teacher Katie Sevilla and students from the school’s ASPIRA club, a student-based leadership program that is aimed at Hispanic youth.
“The kids look forward to this every year,” Sevilla said, adding that students who have graduated often return to help out.
The students also distributed toys they had collected for children whose families came to pick up a food box.
“It’s fun and really nice helping people make their day better,” said Adamari Lopez, a 17-year-old Christiana student. “It’s always important to help people in this way and give them something to look forward to during the holiday.”
For the recipients, the food boxes were a welcome gift.
“It will get us through and help,” Kelly Jackson said, noting that she is caring for her brother who has a disability and her great-niece. She added that she is ready to pay the donations forward.
“If someone I know needs a plate, I’m willing to share,” she said.
For Elisa Williams, it lessens the stress of the holidays. She noted that she is raising her 5-yearold grandson and, while she’s used to doing things herself, the help during the holidays is appreciated.
“I don’t have enough money to meet my needs,” she explained. “It’s a very big help.”
Elsie Reyes agreed. “I’m grateful and thankful that they’re helping other people who may be in a bind,” she said. “I’m very blessed.”
NAWC is driven completely by volunteers. To get involved, go to www. newarkareawelfare.org.
Volunteers help cart boxes of food to the cars of recipients as part of the Newark Area Welfare Committee’s annual holiday food drive Saturday.