Toni’s Kitchen in St. Luke’s Episcopal Church helps out the community.
Located at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Fullerton Avenue, Toni’s Kitchen offers a wide variety of services to its guests, including health and wellness programs, skills training opportunities, connections to supportive services and – best of all – nutritious meals.
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Toni’s Kitchen offers lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. On Sundays, they offer dinner at 5 p.m. The lunch and dinners consist of 10 to 20 volunteers who are dedicating their time to prepare and serve a hot, nutritious meal for between 60 and 85 guests. All guests are welcome.
The meals served at Toni’s Kitchen are guaranteed to not only be delicious, but also nutritious and healthy. Their meals are focused on making sure each dish is between 1,500 to 1,800 calories, 30 percent protein, 30 percent vegetables, 20 percent grains and 20 percent fruits.
Besides cooking meals for the community, Toni’s Kitchen provides a growing number of health and wellness services which are geared towards the improvement on self-management of health and nutrition. One of their most successful preventive programs is the “Whole Health” program, supported by the Mental Health Association of Essex County, which helps to prevent senior citizens from becoming homeless. Through this, counselors are available to guests of Toni’s Kitchen every Thursday throughout the meal.
Additionally, Toni’s Kitchen also provides its guests with a scheduled on-site medical clinic with a focus on preventive care. This is all made possible with the company’s collaboration with Zufall Health Community Services to help provide their guests with access to health and wellness testing and services.
Toni’s Kitchen loves to collaborate with other companies to not only improve themselves, but their most important focus: the guests. With the partnership of The Montclair Foundation and The Schumann Fund for New Jersey, Toni’s Kitchen was able to open an improved Skills Training Program using up-to-date computer equipment. The computer room, with four computers, a fax machine, printer and telephone available, is open from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. to guests after lunch on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.
Toni’s Kitchen is a proud acceptor of all donations, ranging from food to clothing and everything in between. The company accepts food that is homemade, frozen, canned and more. They also accept all kinds of toiletries, warm socks, gloves, hats, scarves, men’s winter boots and work boots, men’s new underwear, warm hoodies, sweaters and sweatshirts, warm coats and jackets, books and much more. If you are interested in donating, Toni’s Kitchen is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 4 to 6 p.m. every Sunday.
“I love coming to Toni’s Kitchen because the staff is so friendly and approachable,” said Leona Watson, a resident of the Montclair community. “I have come a few times so I’m not that familiar of a face, but there is just energy in this place that is so welcoming. They have something really great going on here.”
The history of Toni’s Kitchen began in 1982 when many of the parishioners at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Montclair participated in a special Lenten program that year. The Lenten program challenged them to look more closely at the choices they were making about conserving and consuming energy and food. By doing so, the parishioners realized that the very act of being able to make such choices was a privilege that others in their community did not share and then decided to help those who faced a daily struggle to survive by providing food for those in need. Toni’s Kitchen was named after a woman, Toni Green, who brought her years of experience and talent to the project of serving food to the needy.
If you are interested in learning more about Toni’s Kitchen or how to get involved, visit tk.slechurch.org, call them at 973-932-0768 or visit them at their location at 73 Fullerton Avenue at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.