The Montclair Public Library in partnership with Toni’s Kitchen is nourishing the bodies and minds of Montclair youth this summer. The program is open to all children and teens, regardless of need.
The Library is implementing the Summer Lunch Program for children and teens under 18 through a grant from Partners for Health Foundation. During the summer vacation, low-income families often struggle to have their basic needs met. For many, the summer months mean reduced or limited access to healthy food, learning and enrichment programs, and safe places to congregate and be active. This program addresses all of these issues by offering free and healthy lunches plus summer reading and enrichment programs. Six out of ten schools in Montclair are Title 1 schools and close to 1,000 students are enrolled in free or reduced-price lunch programs.
Toni’s Kitchen is providing a healthy brown bag lunch on Monday through Friday from the end of June through early September. More than 1,100 healthy lunches were served in the first five weeks of the program. Lunches includes a sandwich, fruit, dessert and a drink. Registration is not required. Anne Mernin, Director of Outreach at Toni’s Kitchen stated, “Toni’s Kitchen is delighted to work with the Montclair Public Library to ensure that children are learning and healthy during the summer months.”
A pilot lunch program during Spring Break, generously funded by Susan and Thomas Dunn, served more than 145 children and teens. “The free lunch program is a perfect example of the essential services the Montclair Public Library provides,” said Peter Coyl, Library Director. “This grant from Partners for Health Foundation ensures that kids and teens have a nutritious meal during the summer, and welcomes them into the library to participate in other programs.”
“Increasing access to healthy foods is a key focus area for Partners for Health and we’re delighted to support this innovative partnership between the Library and Toni’s Kitchen,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health Foundation.
This grant from Partners for Health funds several other successful programs that were begun during the summer of 2016. These include Roaming Readers, a walking book club for adults led by MPL’s Adult Department and the NJ Bike and Walk Coalition; Yoga on the Plaza for teens and adults; and weekly exercise classes for children, both taught by YMCA Staff. Registration for these programs can be made at www.montclairlibrary.org.