NEWARK — A new home and new schedule has made all the difference for the Newark Food Closet.
Last November the food pantry moved from the basement of the Municipal Building (under the police station) to the basement of Emmanuel Methodist Church, right across the hall from the Newark Free Lunch Program. The pantry is open from 10 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday.
Food Closet Coordinator Lisa Barrett said the number of clients has almost tripled as a result of the move and the fact clients can now receive food once a month as opposed to every other month. The Food Closet is serving up to 150 families a month.
“The need was just too great to have people every other month,” she said.
Clients must register each month, be 19 or older and show proof of residency. The pantry is run by 45 volunteers; 80 percent of the food is from Foodlink and the remaining 20 percent is purchased or donated.
“We really depend on donations from the community,” Barrett said.
The pantry is well organized by food category (i.e. soups. cereal, beans, fruit etc.) and Barrett even provides recipe cards for a recipe of the month based on what’s on the shelves (in November it was a breakfast taco).
Clients are able to grab a grocery cart and choose the items they’d like (with the amount based on the numbers in their household). In the previous location the food was stored in a caged area at the end of a long hallway and volunteers had to gather the selections for clients, she said.
“But here it’s like a regular grocery store,” Barrett said. “It’s organized and very easy to shop. They’re shopping and being independent.”