Toni’s Kitchen, the food ministry of St. Luke’s Church and Montclair’s vital hunger relief and prevention program, will celebrate its 35th Anniversary with a Gala Fundraising Dinner and Auction. The event will take place at 7:00 PM, on Saturday, October 21, 2017 at the Upper Montclair Women’s Club, 200 Cooper Ave. Upper Montclair, NJ 07043.
The Gala’s theme, “35 Years of Tending Our Community”, speaks to Toni’s Kitchen’s and St. Luke’s unwavering mission to provide food and services to neighbors in ways that respect their dignity, improve health and foster independence.
Toni’s Kitchen has served meals without interruption since its inception in 1982, despite challenges to resources and operations. Almost 70,000 meals were provided on-site and through its outreach programs in 2016; a 32% increase over the prior year. It’s a statistic that doesn’t surprise director Anne Mernin.
“Suburban hunger is often unseen, even as it extends its reach into previously stable populations. High housing costs and a scarcity of full time jobs can lead to extended periods of food insecurity among working families with school-aged children. Senior citizens were especially hard-hit by the recession and some are finding their nest eggs too slim to meet rapidly increasing housing and medical costs.”
Today Toni’s Kitchen is much more than soup. On-site meal programs are coupled with healthy backpack programs for families, health screenings, mental health resources, day laborer outreach and homelessness prevention counseling for senior citizens. All part of the essential human services Toni’s provides for those in need.
Assistant director Tara Chowaniec, is impressed by the ways in which the whole community supports the work of Toni’s Kitchen. “We are busy seven days a week, working with over 1,000 volunteers and a wide variety community partners to enhance our impact.”
Toni’s Kitchen’s 35th Anniversary Gala will offer attendees the opportunity to bid on tickets to shows and athletic events, vacation homes, dining experiences and more for its Live and Silent Auctions.
Click here to purchase tickets