Montclair, NJ – Montclair, after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, will celebrate the 4th of July with its annual parade. The Grand Marshals are Toni’s Kitchen and the Human Needs Food Pantry, two Montclair organizations that work to address food insecurity. The parade is dedicated to the memory of the late Al Pelham, with the blessing of his family.
Pelham, who served as head of the Montclair NAACP and the Montclair Neighborhood Development Corporation, passed away in 2021; his generosity, thoughtfulness and advocacy served as a model for civic engagement and leadership.
“We are absolutely thrilled to bring the July 4th parade and picnic back to Montclair,” said Donato DiGeronimo, Chairman of the Montclair Celebrates July 4th Committee. “Our community has weathered a dark storm and deserves this celebration. We are so happy to revive this beloved tradition and we are proud to honor Toni’s Kitchen, the Human Needs Food Pantry, and our friend Al Pelham.”
“Al never served as Grand Marshal of the July 4th parade, not because he wasn’t asked, but because he was too humble to accept.” said Montclair Celebrates’s Donato DiGeronimo. “We remember and honor him as one of the greats.”
The Grand Marshals of the parade – Toni’s Kitchen and the Human Needs Food Pantry – were chosen because of their tireless efforts to address food insecurity and to serve the most vulnerable in our community. Both organizations were established in 1982 and will celebrate 40 years of service to Montclair this year. The volunteers of Toni’s Kitchen and the Human Needs Food Pantry are emblematic of the spirit of empathy and resourcefulness of our community.
Anne Mernin, Director of Toni’s Kitchen, expressed her excitement. “Toni’s Kitchen is delighted to be one of the Grand Marshall’s of this year’s 4th of July parade – our favorite annual event! It will be refreshing to see our community together, celebrating the good will that has kept us strong throughout these last two years!”
Ken Rivlin, President of the Board of Trustees of the Human Needs Food Pantry, echoed the sentiment. “On behalf of our volunteers, our staff, and our Board, we are thrilled to be a Grand Marshall at Montclair’s 2022 4th of July parade. This honor is especially meaningful because it marks the organization’s 40th year of service and 40 years of generosity, compassion, and love from the entire Montclair community. We are extremely lucky and proud to be part of such a loving and diverse community and are excited to celebrate together.”
Montclair’s 4th of July parade will take place on Monday, July 4, starting at 11 a.m., followed by the traditional picnic at Edgemont Park.
The Montclair Celebrates July 4th Committee is asking for the community’s help to keep this decades-long tradition alive. Every donation helps us make Montclair’s festivities the most memorable event of the summer season. Individuals can donate via Venmo @montclairjuly4.