MESH will be sponsoring with local restaurants for National Hunger and Homelessness Week on Nov. 12-20.
For many, the holiday season brings in joy and the warmth of time spent with family and friends. However, not everyone can look forward to abundant meals and cozy homes. The annual event, National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week on Nov. 12-20, is always held the week before Thanksgiving to draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness.
Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH) will be hosting a kickoff event, MESHing with Motown, on Sat. Nov. 5 from 7 – 10 P.M. at The Conference Center at Montclair State University to support this cause. Guests will be able to enjoy dancing to the dynamic Motown sound of Valerie Adams and the Dimesion Band. Expect food, beer and wine, as well as a silent auction and raffle. Tickets prices range from $75 to $150 per person, and are available on the MESH website.
The Dine Out will provide tangible benefits to members of our own community. The participating restaurants include:Golden River Restaurant at 553 Bloomfield Avenue, Smash Burger at 989 Bloomfield Avenue, and Euro Barbecue at 367 Bloomfield. The restaurants will donate a portion of the their proceeds to support MESH programs to help those experiencing homelessness and food insecurity in Montclair.
“People are often surprised to hear that we have homeless and food insecure people in Montclair. I think that’s partly because all of us have ideas about what “homeless” and “hungry” looks like, and we don’t see that here. But we’re wrong. The face of suburban hunger and homelessness may in fact belong to our neighbor, or our children’s schoolmate, or the person we sit next to at the doctor’s office.” said Mary Beth Rosenthal, Secretary MESH Board of Trustees.
MESH has continuously been making efforts to care for the most vulnerable individuals within the community since it was established back in 2005 by local ministers. They had noticed an increase in homeless people in Montclair and decided to hand out coffee and sandwiches on the street to bring a smile to these people.
As a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit in 2011, MESH, is in partnership with local religious institutions that provide an evening meal to approximately 60 guests, six days a week. That is a total of 10,000 meals in a year! When the temperature falls below 25 degrees, MESH also offers emergency respite, ensuring a safe place to sleep for up to 40 nights a year. They also conduct educational outreach for middle and high school students, Girl Scout troops, and church groups. They work to provide fresh vegetables and herbs for partner meals with the Montclair Community Garden.
MESH Executive Director Gwen Ames said that MESH recently extended its mission to another “hidden” group, homeless college students who stay in the dorms during the academic year but have no place to go during winter and summer breaks.