Prior to the pandemic, The Newark Free Lunch Program was providing meals in the basement dining room of the Emmanuel United Methodist Church. About 7,812 free meals were served per year. In March the dining room was forced to close and the volunteers prepared a “grab and go” lunch which is handed out at the door.
The number of lunches given out went up sharply due to unemployment. Between March 2020 and March, 2021, volunteers handed out 22,205 lunches. This included 162 complete Thanksgiving dinners and 158 complete Christmas dinners. In the past, mostly adults have received meals but this last year there was an upsurge in the number of families with children who needed lunch.
Managers Manny and Alice Crespo say “This volume has devastated our budget and we need some financial help. In the last 28 years we have never turned anyone away and we do not want to turn anyone away now.”
The Crespos learned a lot this past year. Many people need help. But other people can help. If you are able to help in any amount, please send a check to Emmanuel UMC Newark Free Lunch Program, 301 East Miller Street, Newark, NY 14513.