Feed a friend | Newark Area Welfare Committee Helps Families in Need | The latest news from WDEL


An all-volunteer organization helps those in need in the Newark area.

The Newark Area Welfare Committee tries to help families in crisis get back on track by providing them with the necessities many take for granted.

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Throughout the year, they provide food through their Food Cupboard program. In 2016, they provided more than 17,000 meals in the Newark area, while in 2017 that number fell slightly below 16,000.

Jean Hedrich is the co-chair of the Food Cupboard.

“A lot of times it goes through the social service center like the Hudson State Service Center, and we have referrals from that organization and through the Newark United Methodist Church Empowerment Center,” Hedrich said. “We have different churches contacting us about groups that might need help. We recently received something for some officials affected by the closure and a church in the area contacted us and requested help from this subject.”

Hedrich adds that there was a slight increase in use of the pantry program during the shutdown.

“Especially with the evolution of SNAP benefits and the way they were paid a little earlier. People burned out earlier, so we found out February was huge in our pantry. We had quite a few families that came in. We must have 35 or 36 families, Hedrich said.

Hedrich says that on average they have an average of 26 families per month, of course with that many more people in a short period of time, it’s important to keep the closet full. She says they are doing it with outside help.

“The generous donations from a lot of very nice people who will be donating food to the closet,” Hedrich said. “We have churches that donate. I would love to shake hands with everyone who does, but we just find food in front of the pantry of these kindhearted people. We also buy food. through the Delaware Food Bank. We’re a partner in the fight against hunger with them. “

They also have a shoe program which in 2016 provided a pair of shoes to nearly 450 people, almost evenly split between children and adults. In 2017, they provided a pair of shoes to just over 300 people, again almost evenly split between children and adults.

Joe Brady is the treasurer.

“This is a long-standing program, the person who runs this program on our welfare committee will give vouchers to church pastors or vouchers to school nurses so that they have the means to send these. good where the people who need them can get them, ”Brady said.

The stores where the coupons are normally used are no longer there, and Brady is confident they can find a replacement.

The Newark Area Welfare Committee has an emergency relief fund, and in 2016 it contributed over $ 63,000 to help families pay a mortgage or rent as well as pay for utilities or prescription drugs, up from nearly $ 56,000 in 2017.

During the holidays, the volunteer organization’s Holiday Food Box program takes center stage as more than 300 food boxes will be distributed to those who are not as fortunate as others.

Tammy Sharp is Co-Chair of the Christmas Basket.

“We receive names of clients from the Hudson Center, Newark Main Towers, which is a senior citizen facility, we also receive names of families from the Hispanic community,” said Sharp.

Those referred will receive a food box which includes canned and canned foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, margarine, bread, desserts and a frozen turkey.

The assembled boxes weigh more than 70 to 90 pounds according to members of the volunteer organization who prepared the food distributed over Christmas.

Beverly Stoudt is also co-chair of the Christmas Basket, and she says that your help, our listeners in the past has helped deliver some items that they might not have otherwise included.

“With the help that the WDEL listeners give us, we were able to buy some pretty expensive things that we don’t always get like peanut butter and at Christmas we want to give mashed potatoes,” said Stoudt.

While those who receive the food have the joy and ease of knowing that their holiday meals are being provided for their families, volunteers like Stoudt also feel grateful.

“This whole project is a walk in faith,” Stoudt said. “You just came out and good things are happening, and I’m starting to not expect that, but good things will happen that day.”

Among their recipients is Clissita Patrick. She is a breast cancer survivor living in Newark, and is responsible for looking after her six grandsons aged 5 to 14.

It was during the 2016 holiday season, when she was first referred to the Newark Area Welfare Committee as times got tough for her family.

She says her grandsons are grateful for the food.

“It’s a big deal for them, and it just makes me smile,” said Patrick.

Clissita is a special case. Not only is she a recipient of the Newark Area Welfare Committee, but she also volunteers there.

“Everyone was nice and they make you feel very welcome,” said Patrick. “And that’s part of the reason I wanted to be there because I know I can empathize with anyone who comes in, and I think anyone who volunteers to do it does because they have a heart.”

Patrick says volunteering is an outlet for her as her health improves,

It is also his way of paying the organization that has helped his family enormously.

“We receive so much and giving back makes me feel like I’m capable of doing something,” said Patrick.

Patrick swears by the Newark Area Welfare Committee which is another reason she volunteers with them

She hopes telling her story to all of you shows not only how they can help, but it’s also the push that someone who might be too proud to ask for help can overcome.

“Like I said, it’s not the most beautiful or easiest story to tell, but if it can get someone to let their guard down and ask for help, maybe it will open up. to be a door so that he can move on and do other things, ”says Patrick.

Patrick notes that she was once too proud, but she also didn’t want her pride to interfere with the lives of her 6 grandsons.

The Newark Area Welfare Committee helped Patrick and many other members of the community get a meal, shelter, heat, and other essentials that you and I might take for granted.

They intend to provide this assistance for many years to come.

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