Reaching Out Montclair Host Thanksgiving Event

Thanksgiving dinner hosted by Reaching Out Montclair and the Mindful Breath Foundation.

reaching out montclair
Photo courtesy of Garth Guthrie.

Reaching Out Montclair and The Mindful Breath Foundation are delighted to co- sponsor a Thanksgiving dinner for those in need on Monday, Nov. 21 from 4 to 8 p.m. at 11 Pine St. Families will receive baskets full of turkey and other food that they can cook for themselves, at home or in a Salvation Army kitchen. This event is open to the public, with any donations of nonperishable food items from the community welcome. Registration can be done over email at or phone at 973-349-9779.

Both Mindful Breath and Reaching Out Montclair aim to serve the needs of the community. Fred and Genny Randall, CEOs and founders of Mindful Breath, make up an integral part of the team putting on the Thanksgiving event. In addition, Madeline and Garth Guthrie of Reaching Out Montclair have made it possible to host events like this one. Madeline Guthrie and her husband Garth started Reaching Out Montclair (a division of The Mindful Breath Foundation) about a year ago from the back of their car. They collected donations from all over and delivered food directly to people’s homes. Now, Madeline and Garth host programs at Pine Street, where they hold everything from Thanksgiving dinner for families to yoga classes for children.  

“We saw a need in the community and decided to fill it,” said Madeline. And they haven’t been alone in wanting to fill that need. Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair is helping to provide food for the Thanksgiving feast. Anne Mernin, a regular volunteer at Toni’s, has dedicated her time to Reaching Out Montclair in preparation of the dinner.

Joe Davis from Brother to Brother also has provided support for the event. Madeline mentions that her and her husband never thought the organization would grow as fast as it did. Although it started with just two people, their efforts have garnered support from figures like businesswoman Bobbi Brown and Senator Cory Booker. In addition, local councilwoman Robin Schlager and Montclair State University Board of Trustees member Rose Cali have contributed time and resources to the effort.

“It’s truly an honor for my wife and I to have met everyone during our journey,” said Garth. “Finding folks with the same compassion and desire to help has been incredible, and without the help of others it would not be possible.” Amy Rose, Willhem Young Deputy chief of Montclair, Fern Seaman, Tara Tersigni and MNDC have also shown their support. All the work is voluntary, and all the events are free to attend.

Reaching Out Montclair gives food, clothing, furniture, academic and legal services and anything families need. They help parents in negotiating language barriers and paying rent. They help kids who need tutoring for school. The foundation recognizes that they can’t fix everything, but they also know that every little bit counts. “We just know that everyone needs help.  We’re not different, we’re all equal, and we all need help,” Madeline said. “Any little thing you can give to or do for others means so much.”

Reaching Out Montclair also sponsors yoga classes at 11 Pine St. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. Certified instructors lead a group of 30 kids through breathing, stretching and poses for 45 minutes. These classes provide a safe, relaxing environment that some kids don’t have at home or at school. Reaching Out Montclair also provides meditation session for parents on Friday. Madeline, Garth, Genny and Fred all explored the physical and mental benefits of yoga, so they decided to begin this program to help the community reap the benefits. According to Madeline, these sessions teach participants how to deal with the daily stresses of life. And the kids, she said, always leave yoga with big smiles on their faces.

Madeline emphasized the importance of volunteer work and community involvement in Reaching Out Montclair. “There are people in need within the community, and everyone can help,” said Madeline. Every person is welcome to join in Reaching Out Montclair’s efforts, and every donation is appreciated. Reaching Out Montclair aims to gather support and create events like this all year round – not just around the holidays. Madeline would love for more people to get involved and recognize that the things they take for granted, someone else needs. Reaching Out Montclair connects these people to create cohesion within the community. There’s no better time of year than Thanksgiving to be grateful for what we have and give to those around us.

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