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Newmarket No Frills owner brings food to table for those in need

By filling the community fridge each week and sponsoring a variety of local charities, Newmarket’s John van Teunenbroek strives to 'make our community that little bit better'

John van Teunenbroek knows the value of a good meal.

As the owner of Newmarket’s John’s No Frills, he has made it his business – quite literally.

And since launching the franchise in August 2019, van Teunenbroek has also made a point to give back to the community that has supporting his business from the beginning – starting with a $1,000 donation to the Newmarket Food Pantry the very day the store opened, and continuing in 2022 and beyond with his commitment to filling Newmarket’s community fridge weekly.

Launched June 21 of this year and located outside of the Newmarket Public Library, this community fridge acts a space in central Newmarket where residents in need can pick up fresh food and other pantry items, as well as hot meals prepared in the Newmarket Food Pantry’s kitchen.

Operated in partnership between the Newmarket Food Pantry, the Town of Newmarket, and the businesses, organizations, and individuals that donate food daily, the community fridge is a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week operation that not only facilitates access to nutritious foods, but reduces food waste.

Every Tuesday, John’s No Frills restocks the fridge, ensuring uninterrupted access for those facing food insecurity.

“The Newmarket Food Pantry really ties into what we do, which is provide food to people that need it,” said van Teunenbroek. “We’re a discount grocery that sells product at the lowest possible price. Partnering with the Newmarket Food Pantry to feed everyone is our mission.”

Supporting local charities and causes isn’t a new thing for van Teunenbroek. Prior to moving to Newmarket, he operated a John’s No Frills location in Shelburne that supported a variety of charitable organizations, including The Shepherd's Cupboard food bank.

In Newmarket, John’s No Frills is a sponsor of various hockey, lacrosse, baseball, and soccer teams. They’ve also supplied free snacks and drinks for a variety of local events, such as the Autism Heroes Endurance Challenge, which saw York Regional Police Association member Const. Adam McEachern, fellow YRPA members, and community participants put their bodies to the test to raise $100,000 for Kerry’s Place Autism Services.

Latest for the store is their support of the York Regional Police’s Holiday Heroes campaign, which collects non-perishable food items, cash, toys, and children's clothing for thousands of individuals and families in need across York Region.

“I think that when the community is better off, you’re better off as a business,” said van Teunenbroek. “Ultimately, our efforts are to improve our community. Those are the people that shop here, and those are the people that work here. Our ability to make our community that little bit better is something I’m always going to strive for.”