To say that this last year has been challenging is an
understatement. But for many in our community, these challenges include food
insecurity and even hunger.
Toni’s Kitchen is a food ministry of St Luke’s Episcopal Church in Montclair, NJ. They provide healthy meals and food to those in need. Toni’s Kitchen operates three different meal services: food for seniors, a soup kitchen which has been turned into meals-to-go due to the pandemic, and groceries for families.
To give you a sense of the need:
- In 2019, Toni’s Kitchen provided 4,300 meals per week.
- In 2020, the number ballooned to nearly 20,000 meals per week.
The Staggering Scale of the Problem
Despite being the fourth wealthiest state in America, 774,860 people
in New Jersey do not have enough to eat, and of those, 219,760 are
children. To put that number in context, consider it this way: if you add
together the populations of Montclair, Bloomfield, Verona, Clifton, Summit,
Nutley, Hoboken, Paramus, Passaic, and Livingston, you would get 417,339—only a
little over half of the total number of people in New Jersey who do not have
enough to eat.
Three of the most heavily impacted populations in New Jersey are children, seniors, and veterans. One in nine children in New Jersey struggles with food insecurity and 38% of households receiving SNAP benefits (previously known as food stamps) have children. Almost 25% of senior adults earn incomes well below of the federal poverty level. If senior citizens’ food insecurity continues to grow at its current rate, it will increase 50% by 2025. New Jersey has the highest rate of unemployment among veterans, and they are often excluded from food assistance programs.
A More Nutritious Way to Help
With so many of our friends and neighbors in need of regular, reliable, nutritious food, Equilibrium Pilates is running a fundraiser during March, National Nutrition Month, through May. Your donations will help to buy shares from the Montclair-Bloomfield community-supported agriculture (CSA) that will be donated weekly for 24 weeks. Donations can be securely sent through GoFundMe.
The Bloomfield-Montclair CSA sells a set number of shares of their fresh fruits, vegetables, and eggs before the start of the summer. This provides the CSA with the necessary early-season capital to help ensure a bountiful season.
Fresh produce is a vital part of our diet. Fruits and vegetables are the first line of defense in fighting obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020 recommends making one-half your plate fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables supply dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals. There are at least nine different families of fruits and vegetables, each with potentially hundreds of plant compounds that are beneficial to health such as antioxidants and phytoestrogens.
By participating in this fundraiser, you will be helping to build a healthier Montclair while simultaneously supporting local agriculture.
Please help us spread the word about this lifesaving fundraiser
and help make Montclair a fully food secure community throughout the pandemic