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Retired Perkins School music teacher Maria Walton, who volunteers on behalf of the NCSD Music Department to help the Newark Food Closet, is thanking everyone that donated non-perishable food, personal hygiene items and money donations prior to and at four concerts in December.
Noting that there are more than 650 students in Newark schools involved in music, Walton and their teachers encouraged their families, friends and relatives attending concerts at Newark High School, the Middle School and Kelley School to donate.
Here’s how NCSD Music teachers helped spur donations:
• Cindy Briggs, NCSD Music Department Leader and Kelley School instrumental music teacher told her student musicians and their parents she’d purchase one item for every two they brought to school before the December 15th concert.
They responded. Briggs’ students brought in 100 items and as promised, she purchased 50.
In addition, Walton said concert attendees brought an additional 100 items to the Kelley concert, bringing the total collected to 251 food items and a “brown bag full of miscellaneous personal hygiene supplies.”
• Similarly before the December 13th 6th, 7th and 8th grade Band/Chorus concerts at NMS instrumental music teacher Rebekah Valerio informed students and their parents she’d purchase one item for each that they brought to school before the concert.
Her band students brought in 64 items and she purchased the same amount. In all, 145 food, 31 personal hygiene and $15 was collected before and at the concert at NMS.
Kate Flock, vocal music teacher at NHS and Bob Humphrey, NHS instrumental music teacher, also talked about the need to help the Newark Food Closet with their students and messaged parents.
Flock also set up a Christmas tree in her classroom and matched the number of donations her students brought in before the December 19th concert.
In all, 136 food items and $2, was collected at NHS. Briggs said involving the students in the donations before the concert and all of the music teachers sending messages to their parents via ParentSquare was the reason for an increased number of donations this year.
Walton was thrilled with the response.
“This was a fantastic outcome. All the work the teachers did made a huge difference. My thanks to the music staff for being committed to this mission. It really makes a difference,” she said.
Walton is reminding everyone she will be collecting donations at concerts through the end
of this school year including:
• Grades 4-12 Cavalcade of Bands, 7 p.m., March 7th, High School Gymnasium
• Grades 4-12 Festival of Song Choral Concert, 7 p.m., March 14th, High School Auditorium
• Kelley School 4th and 5th grade Bands, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade Choruses and Bucket Brigade Concert, 7 p.m., June 1st, Kelley School Auditorium
• High School Concert Band and Wind Ensemble Concert, 7:30 p.m., June 5th, High School Auditorium.
• 6th, 7th and 8th Grade Band Concert, 7:15 p.m., June 6th, Middle School Auditorium
• High School Chamber and Mixed Choir Concert, 7:30 p.m., June 7th, High School Auditorium
• 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Chorus Concert, 7 p.m., June 12th, Middle School Auditorium
“The Food Closet always gets lots of donations during the holiday season, but then it drops off drastically in winter, spring and summer. I am hoping that people will donate items for the Food Closet at all of our concerts and will associate going to a concert with doing so,” Walton said.
Newark Food Closet President Lisa Barrett said donations, especially after Christmas,
are very important because fewer people typically donate after the holiday season. She also noted contributions are especially important when children aren’t in school.
“When kids are on school vacations the Food Closet gets a lot more people coming in because the children aren’t eating in school,’’ she said.
Located in the basement of the Emmanuel United Methodist Church at 301 E. Miller Street, the Food Closet serves all of Wayne County and is open from 10 until noon Monday through Fridays and the third Saturday of each month from 9-10. Barrett said more than 2,000 people visited and received food and other supplies the Food Closet in 2022.