Three local funders have joined the Township of Montclair to address escalating food need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Partners for Health Foundation, The Schumann Fund for New Jersey, the Montclair Fund for Women and the Township have contributed a total of $80,000 to establish a pooled Matching Fund for Toni’s Kitchen. Donations made directly to Toni’s Kitchen by May 31, 2020 will be matched dollar for dollar up to $80,000 and used to strengthen the availability of food in the local community.
Since the closure of schools and businesses due to the pandemic, there have been major disruptions throughout the community. Seniors are isolating, restaurant workers are unemployed, and families are suddenly without income. Toni’s Kitchen has responded by redesigning its work to meet rapidly growing food needs. To put the increased demand for food into perspective, in 2019 Toni’s Kitchen provided an average of 4,300 meals a week. Since March 2020, the number has grown to 16,000 meals each week. And the growth has not slowed.
“This Matching Fund is a game-changer,” said Anne Mernin, Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen. “Having resources to purchase food and cover our additional refrigeration needs is key. We know the year ahead will be challenging.”
Partners for Health Foundation contributed $30,000 to the Matching Fund. “We’re all stronger when we work together, and we hope the community responds generously to support our neighbors in need, when the need has never been greater,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director.
The Schumann Fund for New Jersey contributed $20,000. According to Annette Strickland, Executive Director, “The trustees of the Schumann Fund for New Jersey are proud to support this longstanding organization that has become a hub of social services in Montclair."
Lori Heninger, Executive Director of the Montclair Fund for Women which donated $10,000, added, “Toni's Kitchen is doing an incredible job of ensuring that the most vulnerable in our community are able to meet a basic human need--that of food. The Board of Trustees is grateful that we can stand together with other local funders, the Township and individual donors.”
The Township of Montclair joined the funders with a contribution of $20,000, bringing the total the Township has given to support Toni’s Kitchen during this crisis to $60,000. Mayor Robert Jackson noted, "We're delighted to continue our support of Toni's Kitchen, particularly in partnership with such wonderful organizations along the way. In a twist of the adage, we're pouring good money after good."
To donate to Toni’s Kitchen, go to www.toniskitchen.org.