Written and Submitted by Marissa Staffen, Montclair Community Farms
This past week we welcomed a group of 9 energetic and ambitious high school students from across Essex County onto the farm! Our farmpreneurs will be busy this season gaining hands-on experience in agriculture, culinary arts, and entrepreneurship as participants in our “Empowering Youth Entrepreneurs From Seed to Sale” project. Each week they’ll be learning about topics in farming, visiting farms and businesses across NJ, and creating wheat-based value-added products! Value-added products are defined by USDA as those that undergo a change in the physical state or form of the product in order to enhance their market value.
In their first week, they visited our friends at MEVO, the Mahwah Environmental Volunteers Organization, learned about the importance of small grain farming, and began brainstorming their dream value-added products! They also worked hard on-site harvesting, planting, weeding, trellising, and preparing for our Montclair Community Farms Mobile Farm Stand! Please be sure to visit this season (June-November) at one of our farm stand sites. https://www.montclaircommunityfarms.org/mobile-farm-stand
The Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ) has posted a scholarship opportunity funded by Partners for Health.
Junior and senior nursing students attending Bloomfield College, Caldwell University, Montclair State University and Seton Hall University can apply for this competitive scholarship through ICFNJ at https://njcolleges.org/icfnj-scholarships-and-cost-of-attendance/#. Ten successful candidates will receive a $5,000 scholarship for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Eligible students must demonstrate a commitment to nursing by having reached their junior or senior year in a nursing degree program at colleges within the Foundation’s service area, noted above, with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2. Candidates will also submit a personal statement outlining their career goals and how they plan to support healthy communities and promote healthier lifestyles as part of their application. Applications will be accepted through September 1, 2021.
“Partners for Health is proud to support nursing students with these scholarships. Nurses who work in schools, health departments and in many other settings are vital partners in our efforts to make the communities we serve healthier, better places to live,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation.
“As thousands of New Jersey nursing students prepare for graduation, it behooves us to think about their future, their role in the community and how we can support them. Professional nurses are a crucial link in our healthcare system and in the health of our communities,” said Gloria C. Essoka, Ph.D., R.N., Trustee and Grant’s Committee Chair of the Foundation. To read her op-ed on Supporting Education for Those Who Support Communities’ Health, click here.
ABOUT THE INDEPENDENT COLLEGE FUND OF NEW JERSEY (ICFNJ)
ICFNJ was founded in 1953 as a cooperative involving business and academic leaders to broaden support for private higher education in New Jersey. Today, ICFNJ continues the tradition of empowering students to realize their goals by strengthening New Jersey’s independent colleges and universities with support for strategic investments in innovative programs, student scholarships and educational advancement. Through these efforts, ICFNJ has raised and contributed close to $72 million providing opportunities for its member institutions to continuously enhance program quality, to increase accessibility and affordability; and thus fulfill their respective missions. Learn more at www.njcolleges.org.
The Blue Scrub Club at Montclair High School has donated $500 to Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center’s Pastoral Care department through the Partners for Health Foundation.
The Blue Scrub Club’s purpose is to inspire and educate students who are interested in exploring careers in the medical field. The club hosts weekly meetings with medical professionals from a variety of fields who share their education and career journeys , along with what they do on a daily basis. Students also contribute to the community by providing healthcare organizations with assistance through financial or material donations, and volunteering, an announcement of the donation said.
“It is important that we engage with the younger generation who have an interest in healthcare and assist them in finding their career path,” chief executive officer at Mountainside Medical Center Tim O’Brien wrote in the announcement. “Healthcare organizations have many moving parts and we want to show students the various pathways in which they can have a successful career in healthcare.”
The hospital will collaborate with the club on future events to continue to educate students about the various careers in healthcare. Students will also have the opportunity to volunteer at the hospital and shadow professionals at all levels.
Partners for Health is delighted to recognize Copeland G. Bertsche for his service to the community and the Foundation at the Foundation’s Annual Golf Tournament being held at the Green Brook Country Club in North Caldwell on Thursday, October 7, 2021.
As president of the Mountainside Hospital Advisory Board and a director of Atlantic Health System, Co was instrumental in identifying and negotiating the sale of Mountainside Hospital to Merit Health System in 2007. In 2012, as a Trustee of Partners for Health, the successor to the Mountainside Hospital Foundation, Co led the team that negotiated the lease of the Foundation’s interest in the land underlying the hospital’s new Medical Office Building. These transactions helped ensure that Mountainside Hospital would remain open and available to serve the community.
Co is a member of the Partners for Health Leadership Advisory Council. He has also served as President of Montclair Golf Club, member of the Montclair Board of Education, trustee of Bloomfield College, as well as director of a number of Montclair-based non-profit organizations, and he been honored for his community service by the American Red Cross. Co currently serves on the Finance Committee of Montclair Film and is an active volunteer at Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair.
A graduate of Colgate University, Co served as legal counsel to the Colgate Alumni Corporation and is a recipient of its Wm. Brian Little Award for distinguished service to the university, the highest award bestowed for alumni service. He received his JD from Seton Hall and his MBA from NYU. Following a career as a lawyer with AT&T and Lucent Technologies, Co currently maintains a commercial mediation practice.
Co’s wife, Andree (Andie), is a longtime Montclair volunteer and broker associate with Stanton Company Realtors. They are extremely proud of their four daughters, sons-in-law and nine wonderful grandchildren and even one granddaughter-in-law!
Michal Herman, Dental Home Director, KinderSmile Bloomfield
Esther’s first visit with KinderSmile Oral Health Program was at her school in 2019, where she received her very first oral exam and dental cleaning. She was immediately linked to our Dental Home, KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield, where she returned for her recall appointments and restorative visits. Always a mature and cooperative patient, Esther only had a simple request— she needed her comforting Dental Assistant Lissa to be by her side, holding her hand throughout each procedure.
Esther is one of nearly 2,000 children who benefitted from this program in the past year despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and our three-month closure. KinderSmile Oral Health Program, the flagship program of our organization, brings preventive dental services to partnering schools and community centers. We provide offsite oral health education, dental exams, caries risk assessments, dental prophylaxis, fluoride applications, sealants when appropriate, and a crucial link to a permanent Dental Home. The mission of KinderSmile Foundation is to provide underserved children with access to comprehensive dental care and educate children and their families about the importance of dental hygiene. We envision a future where every child has access to a dentist, and preventable dental diseases are eradicated.
The coronavirus pandemic has further underlined racial and economic disparities in our society. The high unemployment rates and a lack of full-time schooling have increased the number of uninsured and underserved families who turn to KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield for timely access to oral health care, regardless of insurance status. In the past year, 94% of the children we served came from at-risk families: 76% were insured by Medicaid/NJ FamilyCare, 18% were uninsured, and only 6% were privately insured. Our sustainable Dental Home model combats the inequality of oral health care access in underserved communities by establishing a permanent link to a brick-and-mortar Dental Home while focusing on the three key goals of education, prevention, and intervention.
We are very grateful to Partners for Health Foundation for their continued support, and for sponsoring this important mission for the past year. Together, we provided access to oral health care and education to Esther and nearly 2,000 children.
Written and submitted by: Lisa Martin, Director of Food Access, City Green
City Green’s Garden State Good Food Network (GSGFN) is a statewide farmers’ market incentive program for New Jersey’s SNAP, WIC, and Senior FMNP shoppers. Through this program, anytime a SNAP, WIC, or Senior FMNP customer uses their Families First EBT card at a participating market, they receive a dollar-for-dollar match in “Good Food Buck” incentive dollars for more fruits and vegetables. Five dollars becomes ten, and ten dollars becomes twenty. This not only doubles the purchasing power of SNAP customers, allowing them to put more food on their tables, but provides additional income support for our local farmers and producers. The GSGFN builds direct connections between the state’s nearly 750,000 SNAP recipients and over 50 local New Jersey farmers.
In 2020, our longstanding partners at the Montclair Farmers Market (MFM) offered this nutrition incentive program alongside City Green’s own Veggie Mobile Farm Stand and CSA’s programs to make healthy, local food available and affordable to everyone in 2020. Nearly 1,800 people who use SNAP, WIC, and Senior FMNP nutrition assistance benefits redeemed $25,500 of Good Food Buck incentives at City Green Veggie Mobile Farm Stands and CSA, and at the Montclair Farmers Market. The Veggie Mobile helped to bring food to a variety of partner sites throughout Passaic and Essex counties, including the Bloomfield Public Library, Caldwell Community Center, Evergreen Manor Senior Residences, Hazel St. Senior Housing, and the City Green Farm Eco-Center in Clifton.
Operating in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented burdens were placed on businesses, families, and nearly every industry, with a record number of people applying for unemployment benefits. Through this economic hardship, a safe and reliable food supply was paramount. As more people became reliant on federal nutrition assistance programs like SNAP and WIC, incentive programs like Good Food Bucks were more essential than ever. Adrian Diaz, Montclair Farmers Market’s Double Value Coupon Coordinator, shared during the season that “The market might feel a little different in 2020 with new security measures in place, but our community can still count on Good Food Bucks every week, and this has been a breath of fresh air. During these uncertain times, the market and program have provided customers with a sense of normalcy. Every week I see customers delighted to find our tent, excited to tell me about the produce they plan on buying or their favorite recipe. Many of these customers were afraid that the program would not be available this year because of the pandemic. Others were worried that they wouldn’t be able to afford shopping at the market without Good Food Bucks. It’s comforting to know that they can still rely on our program, even in a year as difficult as this one.”
The Good Food Buck program works to give individuals and families a hand up when it can be difficult to make ends meet, while also putting money back into the local economy. A Good Food Buck shopper shared, “This program means a lot to me and my family. I want my kids to grow up eating healthy. It isn’t easy for us to buy fresh foods all the time. We never shopped at a farmers market before this year. At first it was very different for us but we really love coming here now. We’re thankful for the program and all the fresh foods we can have at home now.”
The program is a win-win-win for NJ residents, local farmers, and communities, and this funding opportunity from Partners for Health Foundation, with additional support from other private foundations, helps to make healthy, local food accessible for all of our neighbors!
News story courtesy of the nonprofit subcommittee of the Township of Montclair’s COVID-19 Task Force.
The nonprofit subcommittee of the Township of Montclair’s COVID-19 Task Force convened emergency meetings last week (January 27 and 28) to address yet another crisis triggered by the pandemic: daytime respite from the cold for community members who are homeless.
With extreme temperatures and a significant snowstorm in the forecast, the Subcommittee recognized the need to act quickly. In past winters, public spaces such as the library and coffee shops would have been open to provide a place for homeless individuals to warm up during the day. Going to these locations is not an option this year because of COVID.
Due to the determination of all involved, a plan came together quickly. Through March 31, the Salvation Army and the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Montclair (UUCM) will open their doors for daytime respite from the cold for parts of each day, seven days a week.
Strict COVID protocols have been implemented at both locations. Lunch and dinner are being providing through the collaborative efforts of Toni’s Kitchen, the Salvation Army and MESH. The Subcommittee is also working to arrange for onsite COVID vaccinations for the homeless individuals who are visiting the daytime respite sites. Small grants from Partners for Health Foundation, The Schumann Fund for New Jersey, and The Montclair Foundation will cover the start-up costs of the program.
“I commend the great work of the Mayor’s Covid-19 Task Force which shepherded the overwhelming good will and energy of these community partners to provide much-needed relief for our homeless population,” said Sean M. Spiller, Mayor, Township of Montclair.
Former Montclair Mayor Ed Remsen is the Chair of Non-Profit Subcommittee of the Township’s COVID-19 Task Force. He led the discussions and was joined by Montclair Councilor David Cummings; Anne Mernin of Toni’s Kitchen; Michele Kroeze of the Salvation Army; Peter Arian of the UUCM; Gwen Ames of Montclair Emergency Services for Hope (MESH); Kathy Smith of Partners for Health Foundation; Al Pelham of Montclair Neighborhood Development Corp; and Rev. Ann Ralosky of First Congregational Church.
Rev. Dr. Campbell B. Singleton, III and Trustee Floyd J. Slaten, Jr. of the Union Baptist Church of Montclair also participated. Union Baptist welcomes overnight guests when nighttime temperatures go below 32-degrees.
Local residents who want to support the safety net organizations that have been working tirelessly to address critical needs throughout the pandemic are encouraged to donate directly to these organizations.
Partners for Health Foundation has made a two-year grant to the Open Space Institute (OSI) to inform the development and design of a long-sought nine-mile, multi-use greenway following the path of the Old Boonton train line through Montclair, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield on through Belleville, Newark, Kearny, Secaucus and Jersey City.
The Essex-Hudson Greenway would provide new healthy outdoor recreation opportunities for walkers, bikers, birders, and other nature lovers, while improving transportation options and providing off-road safety for area residents.
The grant from Partners for Health will be used by OSI and their advocacy partner, the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, for community outreach in Montclair, Glen Ridge and Bloomfield. The goal is to ensure that residents who live near the trail are encouraged to participate in the trail design, as they have the most to benefit from it.
The transformative conversion of the old train line into a shared community greenway has been a long-term regional goal. In early 2020, OSI secured a time-limited purchase agreement for the line from Norfolk Southern Railway Company. In July 2020, Norfolk Southern made public its intent to formally abandon the line. In October 2020, both Hudson and Essex County passed resolutions expressing support – the first official sign of support for the Essex-Hudson Greenway project by the counties.
A long-held vision of all the communities along the route, the resolutions solidify the intent of both Essex and Hudson Counties to work with OSI to seek financing and ownership for their portions of the Essex-Hudson Greenway. OSI is also working to provide initial guidance for development of the property as a multi-use trail and provide detailed information regarding current site conditions.
With abandonment in hand, Norfolk Southern will look to sell this asset quickly. OSI’s agreement represents the best chance that the corridor remains completely intact for the public’s use.
In addition to its health and transportation benefits, the creation of a new Essex-Hudson Greenway offers a range of other environmental and economic benefits. The project stands out as especially vital as the public turns more and more toward local access to green space. The project also offers the potential to reduce traffic and allow for improved infrastructure connectivity for things like broadband and emergency response.
About Open Space Institute
Founded more than four decades ago, the Open Space Institute (OSI) has partnered in the protection of 2.3 million acres across eastern North America from Quebec to Florida. Over the past 16 years, OSI has worked to protect more than 21,000 acres of New Jersey farms, forests, and local parkland within the Highlands, the Pinelands, the Bayshore, and the heavily developed northeastern suburbs. In addition to the Essex Hudson Greenway, OSI’s current projects include efforts to help protect land and improve water quality in the Delaware River Basin and provide public access to the 1,200-acre Jersey City Reservoir in Boonton and Parsippany.
About New Jersey Bike and Walk Coalition
The New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition (NJBWC) is the only statewide advocacy organization for bicyclists and pedestrians and provides a collective voice for everyone who believes that a more rideable and walkable New Jersey means a more livable, equitable, and sustainable New Jersey. NJBWC officially adopted the Essex Hudson Greenway Project in 2014 and has been a leader in building the advocacy campaign to make it a reality.
About the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance The September 11th National Memorial Trail is a 1,300-mile system of trails and roadways that links the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York, the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, Virginia, and the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The route serves as a symbol of national resiliency and character and as a tribute
Partners for Health has awarded grants totaling $315,000 to support local soup kitchens, food pantries and organizations working to address and prevent both hunger and homelessness. This includes emergency COVID-19 grants of $95,000 that were awarded in the spring, and another $220,000 for year-end matching gifts from members of the community.
Contributions made directly to the following organizations were eligible for a $1 for $1 match through the Foundation’s 8th Holiday Matching Grants Program: City Green, Family Promise of Essex County, HOMECorp, Human Needs Food Pantry, MESH (Montclair Emergency Services for Hope), Montclair Community Farms, Nutley Family Service Bureau, Saint Peter’s Haven Healthy Food Pantry & Family Shelter in Clifton, The Salvation Army and Toni’s Kitchen.
COVID-19 has challenged each of us, with a disproportionate impact on community members who were already struggling to cover essential expenses. Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health, notes, “The community pulled together to respond to the pandemic, and the Foundation was proud to do its part by providing funds to support the local safety net.”
The year 2020 has proven to be a difficult year, but for KinderSmile Foundation, it was defined by silver linings.
Thanks to a technology capital improvement grant from Partners for Health Foundation, which was received immediately prior to the Dental Home closures necessitated by COVID-19, we were able to continue to serve the community remotely. The new laptop computers included all necessary software, including our HIPAA compliant patient management system. This enabled us to create a virtual slideshow to present oral health education to students and staff at partnering schools, hold Zoom staff meetings, and continue to track and report data to our grantors. Most importantly, through the COVID-19 pandemic hiatus, when our Dental Homes were closed for three months, our KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield dentists attended to more than 36 teledentistry calls for various dental emergencies of infections and swellings.
The ability to provide virtual services during the pandemic has been a valuable culture of health change, especially for our uninsured and underinsured patients, and recalls the original story that led Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes to found KinderSmile Foundation. In 2007, a 12 year-old Black boy from Baltimore died from an untreated dental infection that traveled to his brain. His story was the sign that Dr. Nicole had been waiting for, compelling her to establish KinderSmile Foundation with a mission of providing underserved children with access to comprehensive dental care and to educate children and their families about the importance of dental hygiene, envisioning a future where every child has access to a dentist and preventable dental diseases are eradicated.
Our Dental Homes fill a large gap in New Jersey’s available resources, allowing underserved at-risk children to receive high-quality comprehensive oral health care in a barrier-free, clean, welcoming, educational, and accessible setting.
The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the health inequities that continue to plague the inner cities, underscoring socioeconomic and racial disparities in access to care. Black and Hispanic Americans have been affected at four times the rate of white Americans by COVID-19. The rise in unemployment has further disparaged these communities. Despite the increase in need and cost of PPE and infection control supplies due to this pandemic, we continue our mission of providing care to at-risk patients in a safe environment to for our staff, volunteers, and community, without seeking any additional fees from our patients. We also continue to work with community partners to educate and stress the importance of linking patients to our Dental Home, thereby helping the state of NJ reduce burdens on hospital emergency departments.
We thank Partners for Health for helping us serve the community and achieve these silver linings, enabling us to give more children and families a fighting chance to live. One smile at a time!
The Partners for Health Foundation Board of Trustees elected three new members who joined the Board on January 1, 2021.
Diana Candelejo, MPA is the Corporate Director of Anchor Strategy for the Social Impact and Community Investment (SICI) practice at RWJBarnabas Health. With an emphasis on ensuring health equity, the SICI practice is rooted in strategic policy change, combined with evidence based and innovative programs that address the social, economic, and environmental conditions that have a significant impact on health outcomes.
Diana leads the system’s anchor mission to Hire, Buy,Invest Local. She has spearheaded the formalization of anchor initiatives at RWJBH’s pilot facility, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, and the South Ward community in Newark. She oversees the Corporate Anchor Roundtable, which is the system’s internal accountability mechanism for asset leaders to promote anchor initiatives across departments. Diana has also been working with the City of Newark to promote local hiring of qualified and educated young professionals as part of the city’s Newark 2020 initiative.
She previously worked with the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation to research and create data visualizations for their local procurement strategies that supported local, minority, and women-owned businesses. She is also the former Curator of the Newark Global Shapers Community Hub, and has provided pro-bono consulting in the education sector.
Diana is a native Newarker and local Newark artist who splits her time between painting and promoting economic development in her community. She received a Master’s of Public Administration Degree from the London School of Economics, focusing her studies on Economic Development, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Studio Art from Drew University.
Felicia Fdyfil-Horne, LCSW is a Clinical Social Work/Therapist who is dedicated to creating a safe space for healing. In 2015, she founded HOPE Therapeutic Services, LLC., and in 2017 she founded its non-profit branch, HOPE Lives Here Inc. She serves as Executive Director of both organizations which are located in West Orange.
HOPE is based on the passion and commitment to helping individuals and families find hope through the power of building their own internal and external resources. Felicia and her team of 65 clinicians help clients work toward achieving goals through the collaborative effort of utilizing therapeutic interventions. Her treatment specialties include trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, family work, abuse/neglect, peer issues, self-esteem, and self-care routine building.
Felicia was previously an Outreach Clinician for Family Connections, Inc. She has also worked as an independent contractor providing therapeutic services, and as a Social Worker for the Department of Veterans Affairs – HUD VASH Program.
Felicia is currently the Chair of the NASW – NJ Essex County Unit, and a Trustee of Family Connections, Inc. She holds a Bachelor of Arts-History and American Studies Degree from the College of St. Elizabeth, and an MS in Social Work Degree from Columbia University.
Paula A. Gutierrez, MHA is the Director of Diversity & Inclusion and the Babs Siperstein PROUD Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, part of the RWJBarnabas Health System.
Paula has over 10 years of experience in healthcare administration as well as knowledge in developing and managing internal and external diversity relations, managing employee network groups and diversity councils. She has designed and implemented programs and strategies that foster diversity, equity and inclusion such as addressing health inequities and social determinants of health in marginalized communities as well as mitigating unconscious bias in hiring and promotion, mentoring, employee resource groups, diversity target setting and other inclusion practices.
Paula also currently serves as a Civil Rights Commissioner for Bloomfield Township; an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University’s School of Health and Medical Sciences; and sits on NJ Governor Phil Murphy’s LGBTQ+ Taskforce. In 2017, she received the Early Careerist Award from the American College of Healthcare Executives of NJ (ACHENJ).
Paula has a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from New Jersey Institute of Technology, and a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Seton Hall University.
A timely and important discussion about food insecurity in New Jersey and advocacy efforts to address hunger was produced as part of Partners for Health Foundation’s sponsorship of the 2020 Montclair Film Festival. With the COVID-19 pandemic having an outsized economic impact on families and communities in need, support to end food insecurity is at record levels.
Partners for Health also co-presented HUNGRY TO LEARN during the Festival, a documentary about hunger on college campuses. HUNGRY TO LEARN tells the story of four college students facing hunger and homelessness and how their dreams of success, college degrees, and food security at school remain just beyond their reach.
John Mooney is the founding editor of NJ Spotlight, starting the news site in 2009 after more than 30 years in print journalism. Before NJ Spotlight, John was an education reporter with the Newark Star-Ledger and the Bergen Record and a contributing writer for The New York Times.
Anne Mernin is the Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen, a food ministry of St. Luke’s Church in Montclair. Prior to joining Toni’s Kitchen, Anne worked as a management consultant in the private sector.
Adele has led Hunger Free New Jersey since its inception in 1980. She is the leading voice in New Jersey’s anti-hunger and nutrition community and serves as a resource to emergency food coalitions throughout the state. Adele’s leadership has earned her state and national recognition.
Elisa Neira oversees the Division of Family Development, the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the Division of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing and the Division of Disability Services.
The mission of KinderSmile Foundation is to provide underserved children with access to comprehensive dental care and to educate children and their families about the importance of dental hygiene as related to total health. We envision a future where every child has access to a dentist, and preventable dental diseases are eradicated. We provide access to care and a link to a barrier-free brick-and-mortar Dental Home, while focusing on Education, Intervention, and Prevention in order to empower patients and their families with methods to combat dental disease.
The dental field poses a unique high risk of transmission of COVID-19, due to close proximity to unmasked patients and unavoidable aerosol droplets produced during dental procedures. Notwithstanding the risks, the increase in need, and the escalating costs of PPE and infection control supplies due to this pandemic, KinderSmile Foundation continues its mission of providing comprehensive dental care to at-risk patients while providing a safe environment to staff, volunteers, and the community. Unlike many private dentists who implemented additional fees per visit to offset the extra costs, consistent with KSF’s mission, we are not seeking any additional fees from our patients.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted economic and racial disparities in access to care. The high unemployment rates and lack of full time schooling are undoubtedly increasing the number of uninsured and underserved families. KSF’s Founder & CEO, Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes, tirelessly works to raise awareness of inequities in oral health access, and was selected to receive the 2020 Benco Lucy Hobbs Humanitarian Award, by the National Council of Negro Women Montclair Branch, and was one of the four finalists for the 2020 NJ Biz Public Health Heroes. In October 2020 she will be acknowledged for her service and dedication to dentistry by the New Jersey Dental Association, at their 150th Anniversary Event.
We are grateful to Partners for Health Foundation, whose continued support has provided preventive and comprehensive care to at-risk uninsured and underinsured children throughout our programs and in our Dental Home KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center Bloomfield.
West Orange recently received formal acceptance into the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities and the World Health Organization Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities. This prestigious award reaffirms the Township’s commitment to an age-friendly community, which benefits residents of all ages.
The age-friendly movement, launched by the World Health Organization in 2005, continues to spread across the globe. The guiding principle is creating local solutions to help meet the global challenges of our aging population. Age-friendly communities are inclusive and benefit from diverse citizen engagement to identify and address the needs of the community.
West Orange is only the 13th New Jersey community to receive this honor and the 466th in the United States to be awarded Age-Friendly certification.
To recognize West Orange’s age-friendly initiatives and commitment to senior livability, the Township created the distinctive age-friendly logo, pictured below. The tree, symbolic of growth, strength, and beauty is encased in an incandescent light bulb, an homage to Thomas Edison, the West Orange genius inventor.
“This is exciting news for West Orange and it underscores the Township’s commitment to meet the challenges of an aging population”, stated Dorothy Sanders, Senior Livability Coordinator. “Age-friendly initiatives benefit an entire community, not just older adults. We remain grateful to the Partners for Health Foundation for their incredible support of our age-friendly initiatives”, added Theresa M. De Nova, Health Officer .
By the year 2030, New Jersey’s over-60 population is projected to represent 25% of the state’s population.
Written by Beth Pulawski, Director of Montclair Community Farms
This year has been challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic and #BlackLivesMatter movement have exposed the deep inequities and inequalities that have existed and persisted in our country and community for too long. They have required that we not only think differently, but do differently, to continue to learn, and be better and do better. They have also showed us the power in community and the things that bring us together.
At Montclair Community Farms, we have really taken this to heart and thought hard about how we work to address all of the factors that lead to healthy living – access to food, education, job opportunities, and community, among others. We don’t have all of the answers but we do have a renewed sense of purpose about what we can do as an organization, and as individuals, to best serve our community. We can continue to provide space to engage and educate the community through farm, food, health and a little bit of fun, and do so regardless of a person’s time, finances, child care, or the many other barriers that they may face. We can also continue to listen to our community.
Thanks to the generous funding of Partners for Health Foundation and Van Vleck House & Gardens and Montclair Foundation we grew more than 3,000 seedlings including 1,000 for our farms’, and 2,000 that were donated to the community. We also engaged more than 50 new gardeners (at free, reduced and full pricing) in our first-ever virtual Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden series. We are proud that our students are now growing and maintaining thriving vegetable gardens. Perhaps more important than growing their own homegrown fruits and vegetables, these gardeners – who would not have met otherwise – have a new community around a shared experience, purpose and passion. Going forward we seek to provide more such opportunities and reach more deeply into our community.
One area we are keen to explore and that was brought on in part by COVID-19 is engaging more young people – who hold the greatest opportunity to make a positive impact for generations to come – in strengthening local food systems. We want to support youth in developing 21st century skills – innovation, creativity, and leadership – through small scale grain milling with community partners like Ruthie’s Farm (of the infamous Ruthie’s BBQ in Montclair), and the development of value-added products such as flour, pizza dough, tomato sauce and salsa. Interestingly enough, this same topic appeared in a NYT Op-Ed last month. Our goal is to provide alternative career pathways through paid positions, as we recognize that a lack of income is the number one barrier to food security and many other social determinants of health. We hope you will join us.
Zufall Health Center’s Community Health Worker has been reaching out to those who are homeless and reducing barriers to seeking primary care services, made possible in part by a two-year grant from Partners for Health Foundation.
Lakshmi Silva, Zufall’s Community Health Worker, provides consistent outreach to homeless individuals in West Orange and surrounding areas, linking them with medical, human services and benefits programs to improve their health overall. She was a consistent presence at homeless shelters, soup kitchens, food pantries, early childhood agencies and government offices.
Research by the National Coalition for the Homeless, the National Alliance to End Homelessness and others has shown that poor health is inextricably linked with homelessness. Among individuals struggling to pay rent or to feed their families, an illness or disability can start a downward spiral into homelessness. Those who are homeless tend to disregard their need for care until their health conditions are dire. They are disproportionately subject to higher rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, asthma, teen pregnancy, late entry into prenatal care, childhood obesity, substance abuse, and significant disparities in cancer outcomes.
Ms. Silva says, “My focus is to develop a plan of action that helps each homeless person, recognizing that the lack of basic needs such as food and shelter is a barrier that prevents these individuals from moving forward to stability and health. During the past two years trusting relationships have been formed with approximately 200 homeless individuals, helping them navigate a myriad of physical and mental health issues, often accompanied by the challenges of addiction. Building confidence and trust is the key to the program’s success; it serves as a doorway to their engagement in primary care and other services.”
Neighbor to Neighbor Network (NTNN), in collaboration with the Township of Bloomfield and the Bloomfield Garden Committee, established the Community Garden at Milbank Park in 2019 and is enjoying it first full growing season this year. This volunteer-led project is a grassroots effort designed to create gardening space for residents, as well as a community gathering space that encourages healthy living, positive eating habits, and environmental stewardship. The garden was funded, in part, with a grant from Partners for Health Foundation.
In addition to the 28 raised bed garden at Milbank Park, the Township of Bloomfield has community gardens at the Oakside Cultural Center and Pulaski Park.
The Bloomfield Garden Committee maintains strict social distancing and sanitizing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic; only 10 people are allowed in the garden at a time. The gardens have yielded 41.5 pounds of vegetables that have been donated to the Park Methodist Food Pantry thus far in 2020; they anticipate surpassing their goal of 200 pounds of donated produce by the end of the season.
Virtual programs are offered in collaboration with the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, on topics such as Canning & Preservation, Bolstering Immune Systems, Meal Plan Ideas for CKD & Diabetes, and Diet & Our DNA.
Future plans include building lending libraries at each garden to be stocked with gardening books, and expanding the number of raised beds at Milbank, some of which will be customized for wheelchair access and to accommodate individuals who have back injuries.
MFEE America to Me Real Talk on Race Takes on Greater Urgency
Since 2018, the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence (MFEE) has engaged over 600 Montclairians in a town-wide process for understanding issues of race and equity more deeply using the America to Me documentary series. The series examines racial inequities through the eyes of teens in a Chicago suburban high school that looks and feels a lot like Montclair High. Given the uptick in racial violence against Black men and women, this process for understanding the perniciousness of racism is more critical now than ever.
Working with Montclair State University professors, Drs. Tanya Maloney and Bree Picower, MFEE has shaped a customized learning experience that guides participants through their personal journey of deepening their racial literacy while preparing them for individual and collective action. The process focuses on learning key frameworks and language for understanding issues of race and equity. Participants use these frameworks to debrief the documentaries in Watch Groups and to guide self-reflection on their own racial literacy and personal accountability. They end the experience by identifying individual and/or collective action items to tackle.
“We have been overwhelmed by the response to this initiative,” says Masiel Rodriquez-Vars, MFEE Executive Director. “From the standing-room only crowd at the March 1st launch to the over thirty people who committed to continue their Watch Groups online after the pandemic hit, to the three hundred people who attended the June 14th closing event, it is inspiring to see so many Montclair folks wanting to do this work. We believe this experience is especially valuable now, as it can help people identify how they can put their privilege on the line for Black and Brown folks.”
Current participants are already finding that the process is changing their thinking and inspiring them to act. “One of the big take-aways from this group is that I, as a white person, have to figure out ways to actively stick my neck out on issues about race,” wrote one participant. Another shared, “the sessions have given vocabulary to what I, as a woman of color, have always known.”
The America to Me process has been generously supported by MFEE, The Schumann Fund for New Jersey and Partners for Health. MFEE is grateful to its funding partners for investing in this critical work. To fuel action to further address issues of race and equity in Montclair schools, MFEE has allocated $150,000 to support Excellence in Equity grants. Parents, administrators, teachers and students are encouraged to work collaboratively to submit proposals in fall 2020. A second round of the America to Me Watch Group process will kick off in September. To participate, visit www.mfee.org.
The Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL) will once again offer “all remote” programming for its summer sessions, with virtual classes in program areas that include the Arts, History and Current Events, and Health and Wellness.
When the Division of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair closed Edgemont Park House for programs in early March due to the COVID pandemic, staff began investigating ways that programs could continue remotely. Senior Services Coordinator Michelle DeWitt tested platform options with various program groups who regularly met at Edgemont Park. Zoom emerged as the most practical platform.
The spring semester was a big success, with 750 registrations for 16 classes. An advantage of using Zoom technology is that many classes could accommodate up to 300 students, far surpassing the capacity of in-person learning.
One of programs that successfully transitioned to virtual learning was a watercolor class called “Out the Window.” Students sheltering in place were encouraged to paint what they saw outside the windows of their own homes, resulting in a range of lovely landscapes, skyscapes, flowers and depictions of vegetables.
Instructor Karen DeLuca describes her approach to teaching on Zoom by saying, “I would first introduce the lesson and then do live, on-camera demonstrations. Students appreciated the opportunity to observe various watercolor techniques up close, giving them a real feel for the painting process. They were able to submit questions through the chat box, as well as share their comments. One student observed that the experience was a bit like watching Julia Child cook!”
Karen adds, “The team at the MILL was way ahead of the curve in instituting this program. I am so thankful to be part of this new way of educating, reaching and informing all who are interested.”
Proceeds from the sale of “Montclair Strong” T-shirts have been donated to Partners for Health and will be used for emergency grants to address increased demand at local soup kitchens and food pantries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation, said, “We are grateful to the enterprising Montclair High School students who produced and sold these T-shirts. The $500 that was raised will help our neighbors in need when the need has never been greater.”
In late April, three local funders joined the Township of Montclair to address the escalating food need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Partners for Health Foundation, The Schumann Fund for New Jersey, the Montclair Fund for Women and the Township contributed a total of $80,000 to establish a pooled Matching Fund for Toni’s Kitchen. Donations made directly to Toni’s Kitchen by May 31, 2020 were to be matched dollar for dollar up to $80,000 and used to strengthen the availability of food in the local community.
Donations reached the $80,000 mark more than a week ahead of the May 31 deadline! Toni’s Kitchen will receive $160,000 to be used to help the food insecure, thanks to the generosity of the funders and the people of Montclair.
Toni’s Kitchen thanked supporters in its announcement about making the match:
“We are THRILLED to announce that YOU DID IT. We met the match and Toni’s will receive $160,000! Thank you to the funders and to our neighbors. We are so overwhelmed by your generosity!”
Since the closure of schools and businesses due to the pandemic, there have been major disruptions throughout the community. Seniors are isolating, restaurant workers are unemployed, and families are suddenly without income. Toni’s Kitchen has responded by redesigning its work to meet rapidly growing food needs. To put the increased demand for food into perspective, in 2019 Toni’s Kitchen provided an average of 4,300 meals a week. Since March 2020, the number has grown to 16,000 meals each week. And the growth has not slowed.
“This Matching Fund is a game-changer,” said Anne Mernin, Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen. “Having resources to purchase food and cover our additional refrigeration needs is key. We know the year ahead will be challenging.”
Partners for Health Foundation contributed $30,000 to the Matching Fund. “We’re all stronger when we work together, and we hope the community responds generously to support our neighbors in need, when the need has never been greater,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director.
second MONTCLAIR Bounce
Festival scheduled for this Spring has been postponed indefinitely but
organizers are offering online experiences and resources reflecting the
Festival’s goals of helping the community sustain itself through life’s ups and
downs. These include creative collaborations with local partners, practical
information and a virtual place for neighbors to come together.
registration, viewing and participation information are available at www.montclairbounce.org.
The website also features practical resources on crisis needs and mental
health support, as well as on individual and family activities that are both
playful and meaningful.
Bounce reflects mental health research on ways we can boost our moods and
bolster our resilience. The Festival is a project of Toni’s Kitchen, which is playing a central role in
addressing food insecurity resulting from COVID-19.
Jose German writes the “Gardening for Life” column for Montclair Local and is the founder of the Northeast Earth Coalition.Shared with permission from Jose German.
The Victory Garden movement, nowadays more commonly referred to as urban farming, is very strong in Montclair.
In the past weeks, Montclair residents, facing depleted supermarket shelves and ordered to stay at home, have turned back to a tried and proven response to uncertain times: home-grown food. The Victory Garden, which helped America through two world wars, is set to make a comeback.
Victory Gardens are a natural strategy for coping with this pandemic: growing vegetables on one’s own ground brings people outdoors, with no chance of being infected.
The Victory Garden has a long history. People may remember it from World War II, but it actually began earlier.
The first Victory Garden movement was born during World War I, when farmers were called to battle and farms became battlefields of the Great War. With a severe food crisis affecting Europe, the United States assumed the role of feeding millions of starving Europeans.
Charles Lathrop Pack, one of the wealthiest men in the country, began organizing the Victory Garden movement weeks before the United States joined the war in 1917.
Pack encouraged Americans to plant all available land, including yards, schoolyards, parks, and vacant lots, to grow food to support the war effort. Pack’s efforts were very effective, with a total of 5.2 million new garden plots cultivated by 1918.
The movement lost popularity after the armistice, only to re-emerge stronger than ever with the United States’ entry into the Second World War in 1941.
Interestingly, the Department of Agriculture was not initially happy with this initiative. However, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt helped to jump-start the movement by creating a Victory Garden on the White House lawn, and by 1944 around 20 million Victory Gardens produced more than 40 percent of fresh fruits and vegetables consumed in the country.
Victory Gardens were seen as a way for Americans on the home front to support the struggle against fascism, with the added benefit of supplementing diets in a time of food rationing. The war’s end in 1945, along with the postwar obsession with large-scale industrialized agriculture, brought about the second demise of this inspiring movement.
Montclair is well-known for residents gardening at home to produce their own food. Bob McLean, who moved to Montclair with his parents in the 1920s, told this author he planted his first garden at age 6, “buying seeds with three cents my parents gave me.” McLean passed away in 2011.
McLean’s garden was impressive, as was the quality of his soil. His yard, he said, was eight inches higher than his neighbors’ yards as a result. McLean was a pioneer, and his garden inspired neighbors for decades.
Pat Kenschaft’s house is just across the street from McLean’s on Gordonhurst Avenue.
“In this time of quarantine the garden is the thing that is keeping me sane,” Kenschaft said. She is known to many in Montclair as an activist for growing food at home, and has inspired many people with her organic garden, sharing her gardening journey through open garden tours and via email.
“My garden is still thriving,” Kenschaft said. “Four decades ago I was sick and ready to go on disability, and my daughter suggested that I start a garden, which I did. In a phenomenal way, gardening transformed my life.”
One of the new Victory Gardens in Montclair was made by Lily Becker, 20, a sophomore at Cornell University. Becker returned to Montclair when her university closed due to coronavirus and made use of her free time to create a backyard vegetable garden with eight raised beds – and install a chicken coop.
“I want to inspire people my age about being sustainable and growing your own food,” Becker said. The garden will provide all the veggies her family needs, not to mention those eggs. As a young woman, Becker feels the overwhelming pressure to take action against the climate crisis, and home food production is a start.
The coronavirus pandemic was the trigger motivating her to be ready in case of a food shortage. “I need to send a message to my peers in college and in my community that this is the right thing to do,” she said.
In addition to backyard — or front yard — vegetable gardens at private homes, organizations in town have created community gardens to support families in need and food programs for those without space to grow their own.
In 2017, as part of an Eagle Scout project, Montclair High School students created a community garden at Rand Park that, like most such gardens in town, donates the produce to local food pantries. Becker helped create that garden.
Leading organizations promoting community gardens in Montclair include A Lot to Grow, Montclair Community Farms, and the Northeast Earth Coalition (NEEC). Partners for Health Foundation, a local nonprofit organization promoting healthy diets, supports many of the community gardens in Montclair.
Along with Cornucopia Network of New Jersey, a local organization supporting local food production, Partners for Health partially funded a new community garden developed by the NEEC’s Urban Growers Program on Pine Street at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church.
This garden is unique since it provides food for three refugee families from Central America who live on the premises. Each family has its own plot, and they have already planted the garden with peas, lettuce, cilantro, potatoes, carrots, onions, and radishes, among other veggies.
Of the 12 raised beds in the garden, six are dedicated to the Toni’s Kitchen food program.
In times of crisis, Americans have turned to Victory Gardens. This movement, born of war, continues to inspire people today in the face of the coronavirus struggle, helping families to grow their own organic food steps from their kitchens.
HOW TO CREATE A VICTORY GARDEN
Find a spot in your yard that receives at least six hours of direct sun.
Make a raised bed of natural wood, since treated wood has arsenic, which contaminates the soil. Set up at least three raised beds 5-feet-by-4-feet each or the size of your preference.If you have a small space, containers will do.
Get organic soil, available in your preferred nursery, and a bag of compost to be mixed with the soil. Each raised bed would need a minimum of four bags of soil.
Get seeds (preferably non-GMO). Heirloom seeds are best.
Include seeds for vegetables that grow in both cool and warm seasons. During cool season you can grow lettuce, arugula, parsley, kale, beans, radishes, carrots, potatoes, collard greens, broccoli and anything in the family of cabbage, among others. In warm weather (May to September) you can grow corn, tomatoes, beans, summer lettuce, eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, etc. Remember that everything that you planted in the spring is good to be planted in the fall.
If you lack the patience to grow from seeds, you can buy seedlings from a local nursery.
If critters are a problem, protect your garden with a fence or a net.
Registration for the Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL)
launched on schedule on April 6, but participants will find that the timetable
is practically the only aspect of the program to remain unchanged from prior
When the Division of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair closed Edgemont Park
House for programs in early March, staff began investigating ways that programs
could continue remotely. Senior Services Coordinator Michelle DeWitt tested
platform options with various program groups who regularly met at Edgemont
Park. Zoom emerged as the most practical platform.
“Once the platform was determined we reached out to all of our MILL
instructors to develop a semester that stays true to the MILL vision, despite
the unprecedented situation we are all facing,” said Director of Senior
Services/Lifelong Montclair Director Dr. Katie York.
The Montclair Public Library will provide virtual Zoom training for MILL
students, and Manhattan Prep is donating a hands-on workshop for the MILL
instructors to hone their online teaching skills.
By moving to remote classes the MILL is now able to accommodate more
students this semester with 14 courses, most of which now have an enrollment
capacity of 300. Some classes require a student to view the instructor’s video
and while others can be accessed with just a phone. Many classes will be
re-aired on Montclair TV34.
Partners for Health Foundation committed additional funding to ensure a
smooth transition to all-remote programming.
Montclair and Bloomfield are joining forces to form a Complete Count Committee to ensure that the 2020 Census brings appropriate funding and resources to our communities. The Committee will focus on those who are at risk for being significantly undercounted, including very young children, low income residents, people living in multigenerational housing, and others. Montclair and Bloomfield both have multiple census tracts that were undercounted in 2010.
The 2020 Census, launching on March 12, is the key tool used by the federal government to determine Congressional representation and funding allocations of more than $675 billion in public services including roads, schools and transportation. Conducted once every 10 years, any population undercounts can impact a community for a full decade.
The Montclair-Bloomfield Complete Count Committee is chaired by Anne Mernin of Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair. The Committee includes representatives from the schools, local government, libraries, local nonprofit organizations and others serving Hard To Count populations. The partnership was formed thanks to the support of Montclair Mayor Robert Jackson and Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia. Grant funding from Partners for Health Foundation is supporting the efforts of the Committee.
Learn more about the Montclair-Bloomfield Complete Count Committee by visiting their Facebook pages:
About the 2020 Census
Responding to the 2020 Census will be easy, safe and convenient. Responses will be accepted online, by phone, or by mail. All residents should receive an invitation to respond to the 2020 Census by mail in mid-March. Reminders and a paper questionnaire will be sent by mail in April to those who do not respond online or by phone. In late April, the Census will mail a final reminder notice; following this, a Census taker will follow up in person.
All responses are confidential and protected by federal law, and Census data is never shared with any law enforcement agency. To learn more, including how the US Census Bureau protects personal information, visit https://2020census.gov/.
The Census Bureau is also hiring for a wide variety of temporary positions. Starting pay is $20/hr for most positions. For more information, visit https://2020census.gov/en/jobs.html.
On a fall day at the Montclair Farmers’ Market, a customer walked up to the market managers’ tent with a $5 bill. But it wasn’t your average $5 bill – it was a Good Food Bucks coupon, part of the Double Bucks program that allows federal food benefit recipients to buy twice as much local produce with their federal food dollars at the Montclair Farmers’ Market, funded by the Partners for Health Foundation.
This customer had found the bill on the ground, and he knew exactly what it was. He had used his own Good Food Bucks earlier in the season to buy fresh produce, and wanting to make sure that the original owner had the same opportunity to buy fresh food as him, he asked the market staff to help him return it to its rightful owner. Before leaving, he remarked, “I know how important these are when you need them.”
In 2011, City Green, a food access and urban farming non-profit based in Clifton, launched the Good Food Bucks program. It allowed people with SNAP or WIC food benefits to buy fresh and organic fruits and vegetables grown right up the street at City Green Farms in Paterson and Clifton. Since its inception, the program has doubled the value of Good Food Buck coupons, so $5 at the local grocery store turns into $10 at a City Green farm stand. Since its founding, the program has expanded rapidly. In 2019 alone, City Green distributed 40,000 pounds of fresh produce to nearly 6,000 customers at 17 locations. To expand the program, City Green launched the Garden State Good Food Network, which brought the program to farmers’ markets across the state. Through City Green’s funding, training, and marketing support, dozens of farmers now sell their produce to federal food benefit recipients, including the Montclair Farmers’ Market, “Our goal is for all SNAP and WIC shoppers in New Jersey to be able to shop at a farmer’s market near their community, and access the same local, high quality produce that their neighbors do” said City Green Executive Director Jennifer Papa.
At the Montclair Farmers’ Market, less than twenty minutes after the man returned the lost Double Bucks coupon, an elderly woman approached the tent asking if anyone had found any bucks at the market. She had lost hers while shopping, and was worried about not being able to afford all the groceries on her list. When the farm stand attendants handed her the returned bucks, her face lit up in joy. “It was a simple moment,” said Adrian Diaz, the Double Bucks Coordinator at the Montclair Farmers’ Market, “but it was very moving.”
“Juicy peaches, glistening cherries, just-picked corn and rainbow-colored carrots are only some of the enticing, fresh fruits and vegetables on offer every Saturday at The Montclair Farmers’ Market. The market is enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors each year, and thanks to the markets’ Double Bucks Program, shoppers of all ages and incomes are welcome to partake of the bounty. Hundreds of our neighbors who otherwise would not be able to shop at the market utilize this program each month. Many tell us how much they now look forward to their shopping experience at our market, thanks to City Green and the support of the Parnters for Health Foundation, The Montclair Farmers’ Market is thrilled to offer affordable access to nutritious, fresh, locally-grown food to seniors and low-income families across our area, while supporting our farmers and local economy.” – Adrian Diaz, Double Bucks Coordinator, Montclair Farmers Market”
Bloomfield College to Assess and Enhance Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicide Prevention Efforts in Partnership with The
Jed Foundation (JED)
Bloomfield College announced that it has joined JED Campus in support of student well-being and mental health. The program is a nationwide initiative of The Jed Foundation (JED) designed to help schools evaluate and strengthen their mental health, substance misuse and suicide prevention programs and systems to ensure that schools have the strongest possible mental health safety nets.
is a critical need for mental health education, substance abuse programs and
suicide prevention initiatives across all colleges and universities and
Bloomfield College is no exception. Thanks to funding support from Partners for
Health Foundation, , we are now connected to The Jed Foundation and
participating in JED Campus. With a background in counseling, I know this
partnership will enhance our existing efforts to help our students overcome
their struggle with mental illness,” said Bloomfield College President,
Marcheta P. Evans, Ph.D.
college years are the age when many mental health issues first manifest, and it
can be a time of significant stress and pressure,” said John MacPhee, Executive
Director of JED. “JED Campus helps schools by working with them to survey
everything their university is doing to support their students’ emotional
health and find practical ways to augment these efforts in a comprehensive way.
We believe that the implementation of a campus-wide approach to mental health
will lead to safer, healthier communities, and likely greater student
College’s membership in JED Campus begins with establishing an
interdisciplinary, campus-wide team to assess, support and implement program,
policy, and system improvements and completing a confidential, self-assessment
survey on its mental health promotion, substance abuse, and suicide prevention
efforts. Upon completion of the assessment, JED Campus clinicians provide
schools with a comprehensive feedback report identifying successes and
opportunities for enhancements. Over the course of four years, Bloomfield College will collaborate with JED to help
implement enhancements. All self-assessment responses
and feedback reports are confidential.
Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning launched in March 2015, Rita
Bettenbender’s Film Class was among its first offerings. Rita passed away in January 2020 and to honor
her legacy, the MILL has created the Rita Bettenbender Memorial Fund. Donations to the fund will support future
film classes in Rita’s memory, and will be eligible for a match from Partners
for Health Foundation.
launch the MILL in a successful direction. Her classes were not only popular,
but Rita’s teaching truly embodied the spirit of the MILL with her insights and
ability to facilitate and moderate thoughtful discussion,” said Katie York,
Director of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair, Department of Health &
Human Services for the Township of Montclair.
one of her MILL students, Rita was, “A unique woman with incredible knowledge
about her subject. Not only did I look
forward to movies I would otherwise never have seen but the interesting and
sometimes heated discussions that followed were always informative and
Click hereto make a donation to the Rita Bettenbender Memorial Fund.
payable to Partners for Health, may also be mailed to:
Pam Scott, Executive Director Partners for Health Foundation 54 Plymouth Street Montclair, NJ 07042
As New Jersey
continues to struggle with an economy marked by low-wage jobs, unemployment,
foreclosures, and an increasing cost of living, the Earned Income Tax Credit
(EITC) remains a crucial lifeline for low-income families. By lifting families
out of poverty and giving a boost to local economies, the EITC is a vital tax
credit for the more than 600,000 working New Jerseyans who rely on it ‘to make
ends meet.’ Unfortunately, many families are unaware that the EITC even
exists, or that they are eligible for these tax credits. In other instances,
they spend hundreds of dollars paying high cost tax preparers for services that
are available for free at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.
To respond to this need, Partners for Health issued grants to organizations for the 2020 tax season to provide EITC assistance through tax return preparation, financial literacy classes and targeted outreach to potential clients.
NJCAEF hosted free tax preparation days at the Bloomfield Public Library during the 2019 tax season. By the end of the grant term, NJCAEF provided free tax preparation services to 292 individuals and of those, 66 claimed the state and/or federal Earned Income Tax Credits). In total, $633,715 in refunds were made to the individuals served, with $167,000 in EITC!
United Way of Northern NJ completed 654 tax returns in the PFH service area for the 2019 tax season. Of those, 97 clients received EITC. A total of $166,964 refunds were made in EITC dollars.
United Way of Northern New Jersey hired an outreach coordinator to provide information on free tax preparation services and available tax credits to a wide variety of organizations and the people they employ and serve. For the 2019 tax season, United Way of Northern NJ provided financial education to 103 individuals in the PFH service area through workshops and one-on-one meetings.
Partners for Health Foundation is proud to partner with these organizations once again this tax season.
Early childhood is the ideal time to
establish healthy behaviors, including healthy eating habits. According to the
Food and Nutrition Service of the US Department of Agriculture, “Farm to Preschool
works to connect early child care and education settings to local food
producers with the objectives of serving locally-grown, healthy foods to young
children, providing related nutrition education, and improving child
nutrition.” The benefits of Farm to Preschool efforts parallel the goals and
priorities of the early care and education community including an emphasis on
experiential learning opportunities; parent and community engagement; and
lifelong health and wellness for children, families and caregivers.
The City Green “Farm to Preschool Program” funded
by Partners for Health Foundation was launched in the fall of 2017 at 19 local
preschools. Partner sites chose from a
variety of program options that included teacher training, garden
design/construction, planting lessons and Veggie Mobile Visits.
Teacher trainings are a vital component of
the program, providing them with the basics of gardening, time to practice
seeding, and learning how to maintain and utilize their school’s garden as a
valuable lesson tool. During the two-year pilot program, 162 Preschool teachers
received training, 23 gardens were built, and more than 2,300 children between
the ages of 3 and 5 were impacted.
The preschools City Green targets to work
with are in low-income urban school districts with 80-100% free and reduced
meal eligibility. While the ultimate goal is to increase procurement and
serving of seasonal, local, and regional foods in school meals, this can only
be accomplished by first developing student and administrative awareness of
where our food comes from; how local foods contribute to healthy bodies and a
healthy environment; and to cultivate an educational community that values and
celebrates local healthy foods as part of the greater mission of improving our
children’s nutrition and health.
An Official Guide to the
Lenape Trail developed by the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference, is now
available to guide exploration of the trail and the parks that it traverses.
The 36-mile Lenape Trail brings visitors to Essex County’s
great outdoor destinations by connecting 18 parks and 11 communities. This unique
urban-suburban trail is a destination for residents to explore the wide range
of healthy outdoor activities found right in our own backyards. Since 2017, in partnership with the Essex
County Park System and
with funding support from Partners for Health Foundation, there have been trail
reroutes, signage installation, and public workshops that resulted in improved
trail visibility and enhanced volunteer recruitment.
The Official Guide to the Lenape Trail includes detailed maps and descriptions of points of interest along the trail, making it valuable for hikers and historians alike. The full guide (or just the sections that are of interest) can be viewed by clicking the “Lenape Trail Guide and Maps” button at LenapeTrail.org. A hard copy of the guide is also available as a 42-page PDF (see below). A digital Lenape Trail map can be downloaded through the Avenza Maps app on your mobile device. In addition, an interactive map, perfect for trip planning, is available online. Information on the app and interactive map can be found through LenapeTrail.org.
Lenape Trail Field
Manager Debra Kagan oversaw the creation of this digital guide with input from
local museums, historical societies, and nature centers. The goal is to enrich the trail experience of
county residents and attract new hikers, walkers, and volunteers.
Please join us in welcoming PFH’s new Board Chair, Clifford B. Finkle IV!
Cliff joined the PFH Board in 2014, and has served as Finance Chair since 2015 and First Vice Chair since 2016. Additionally, Cliff sits on the Foundation’s Nominating and Strategic Planning Committees.
Cliff Finkle is a
Senior Vice President with EVO Transportation and Energy Services. Prior to joining EVO, Cliff was a Principal at
Clifford B. Finkle Jr. Inc. and Finkle IV Freight and Logistics. He joined Clifford B. Finkle Jr. Inc. in 2004
and founded Finkle IV Freight in 2006. Cliff
received his MBA from Georgetown University and a B.S. from Lehigh University. Between
Lehigh and Georgetown, he worked for Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of
Cliff and his wife Alexis moved to Montclair in 2004 after living in New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Alexis and Cliff have a son Pierce, who is 13 and a daughter, Skylar, who is 10.
KinderSmile Foundation recognized community partners – including
Partners for Health Foundation – at the inaugural SMILE! Awards Breakfast, held
in October at RWJ Barnabas Clara Maass Medical Center.
First Lady Tammy Murphy gave a keynote address, speaking
passionately about her efforts to expose and eradicate the maternal and infant
mortality crisis significantly impacting women of color in New Jersey. The event also included recognition of
pregnant and newly postpartum mothers who have graduated from the KinderSmile
Perinatal Health & Wellness Program.
In the words of KinderSmile’s Founder and CEO, Nicole
McGrath-Barnes, DDS FACD, “Our existing Perinatal Health & Wellness Program
would not be successful without the initial support from Partners for
Health. So many mothers are smiling because they are healthier and
empowered! This is because of your willingness to support our pilot program in
2016. Mothers leave the program educated on oral disease prevention, and after
they deliver, their child has a place to call their Dental Home.”
Dr. Nicole McGrath-Barnes, center, and First Lady Tammy Murphy (second from
right) with Partners for Health Foundation staff (from left): Jackie Gifuni-Koutsouris, Program Associate;
Kathy Smith, Program Director; and Pam Scott, Executive Director.
tradition that began six years ago, the Montclair Bikery 7th Annual Turkey Ride
to collect turkeys for the Human Needs Food Pantry will take place on Sunday,
November 24, 2019. Cyclists will meet at
the Montclair Bikery at 145 Valley Road at 9 AM and ride a flat, 15-mile
circuitous route to the Brookdale Shoprite on Broad Street, Bloomfield where
they will buy frozen turkeys, and deliver them (by bike and van) to the Human
Needs Food Pantry in Montclair. The Human Needs Food Pantry distributes more
than 1,000 turkeys and all the fixings for a Thanksgiving feast to their
clients the week of November 19.
are not able to ride on November 24, may still help the Human Needs Food Pantry
by making a contribution for turkeys at the Montclair Bikery. Partners for Health Foundation will match all
monetary donations up to $10,000 made between now and November 24.
Last year, more
than 250 cyclists braved the cold, windy weather and bought and donated 350
turkeys to the Human Needs Food Pantry. Over
the last 6 years, the Turkey Ride has collected 1,300 turkeys and raised $125,000
for the Human Needs Food Pantry.
The Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL) fosters opportunities to expand social connections
and build knowledge and new skills for adults age 55+. It is a core program of Lifelong Montclair, part of the Township’s commitment to becoming an
age-friendly community. More than 250 classes have been offered since 2015, and
there have been 1,500 registrations this year alone. MILL classes are also free of charge and
taught by high-level instructors.
in MILL courses aren’t just for fun – there are tangible benefits to lifelong
learning, as demonstrated by MILL student feedback and research.
Lifelong learning increases brain health
“I am 92 years old and always glad to
learn something new.”
“The class has helped me realize that I can learn and enjoy something new.”
suggested that engaging your brain throughout your life may provide protection
against Alzheimer’s disease. Another
suggested that engaging in lifelong learning may improve memory. And further research
demonstrated that ongoing cognitive activity may relate to improved cognitive
Lifelong learning expands social connections
“I’ve developed many new friendships with a diverse group of
“The gathering of people with like-interests has gained me many
“The class is a community with lovely people who I look forward to joining with at every class.”
MILL classes are intentionally multiple weeks long, so new friendships can form and develop.
Lifelong learning improves mental health and reduces stress
“The MILL class has improved my life in many ways. I think I’m
calmer, more focused, and certainly have better balance.”
“This class helped me in many ways:
to reintroduce me to yoga, which I haven’t done in decades, to increase my
physical and mental health and well-being, to ease my transition into
semi-retirement and to introduce me to all the wonderful programming that happens
through the MILL as well as the other senior programs at Edgemont.”
A study has
suggested that lifelong learning may result in improved mental health and
learning builds knowledge and new skills!
“Classes like this help me to dust
off and reacquaint with information that I breezed through in school. Now I get
to understand and appreciate the importance of why and what occurred during
this period of history.”
“In retirement I am exploring art. I learn a little more technique
in each class.”
MILL courses offer a chance to discover and revisit topics that didn’t seem important during school and college. Participation in the MILL is an opportunity to try out new skills for which you didn’t have the capacity at another time in your life.
Edward A. Smith
appreciated the excellent nursing care he received at Mountainside Hospital,
and starting in the 1970s he was an ardent supporter of both the hospital and
the Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing.
Though he passed away in June of 2003, his legacy to helping students
pursue careers in nursing has continued through the Edward
A. Smith Memorial Nursing Scholarship. The scholarship is funded annually
by contributions from his wife, Ellen Smith.
Mr. Smith was devoted to his family, his church and
the community. He had two daughters, Janet and Nancy, four grandchildren and six
great-grandchildren. He was born and raised in West Orange, lived in Bloomfield
and then moved to Montclair after he married Ellen in 1962. He spent his entire 40-year career at
Prudential Insurance in Newark, starting in the mail room and working his way
up to the Human Resources Department.
Mountainside Hospital was the beneficiary of annual matching gifts from
Prudential during his tenure there.
Mr. Smith was also very active with the Westminster
Presbyterian Church of Bloomfield, and later when the two churches merged, with
the Bloomfield Presbyterian Church on the Green. During the 1950s and 1960s, he served as a
Church Deacon, Elder and Clerk of Session.
A. Smith Memorial Nursing Scholarship was established in 2005, and was awarded
each year to a student attending the Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing
until the school closed in 2016. Since
then, the scholarship has been awarded through a program established by Partners
for Health Foundation through the Independent College Fund of New Jersey. Scholarships are given to full-time nursing
students attending programs at Bloomfield College, Caldwell University,
Montclair State University, and the Seton Hall University School of Nursing.
His daughter Janet recalls, “My father spent many
days at Mountainside Hospital and he always did well there. It was only natural that he wanted to support
scholarships to help future nurses with their education.”
“Partners for Health Foundation appreciates the
generosity of Edward and Ellen Smith, and the scholarships that have helped so
many aspiring students to finish their nursing education. We’re proud to have been part of assuring Ed’s
legacy through this scholarship,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director.
To celebrate our 10th anniversary, Partners for Health Foundation awarded 10 Community Impact Awards, and grants totaling $100,000, to recognize nonprofit organizations and individuals making a significant difference in the health and well-being of local communities. A video produced that evening tells the story of several of the Awardees, what inspires them, what they’ve been able to accomplish, and what they aspire to achieve. Pam Scott, Partners for Health Foundation’s executive director, notes, “Their collective stories portray dedicated advocates, volunteers, caregivers, unsung heroes and leaders, along with the tens of thousands of lives they touch.”
The awards were presented at a celebratory event emceed by Jim Axelrod, Senior National Correspondent for CBS News.
Partners for Health Foundation held its Annual Golf Tournament on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. The event raised more than $75,000 to support local organizations that address Hunger & Homelessness. We would like to extend a warm thank you to all who participated and helped to make it a memorable day!
Special congratulations to the event honoree – John Fromhold, CEO, Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center. John is pictured during the awards program (center) with, from left: Chris Petermann, Partners for Health Board Chair; Co Bertsche, Partners for Health Leadership Advisory Council; John Kelly, Chair, Partners for Health Golf Committee; and Pam Scott, Executive Director, Partners for Health.
To learn more about the tournament, click here to view the Event Program.
Click on the photo above to access the Golf Tournament photo album!
Public Library Foundation will continue its summer feeding program for
Montclair’s youth. The Summer Learning and Lunch Program is the result of a collaboration
among Montclair Public Library, Partners for Health Foundation and Toni’s
into its third year, this program is meeting a real need in the Montclair community
as evidenced by the 2,867 lunches served last summer. Six out of ten public schools in Montclair
are designated as Title 1 schools, indicating a high percentage of children are
from low-income families. For the 2018-19 school year, 1,064 students – 16% of
the Montclair district – qualified for reduced-fee or free lunch. But during
the summer when school is not in session, many of those children do not have
access to lunch. This program meets a critical need to offer a nutritious lunch
in a non-stigmatizing community-accepted environment.
Kitchen will provide a healthy brown bag lunch which will include a sandwich,
fruit, and a dessert. Lunches will be served Monday through Friday from July 1-August
30. No applications are necessary to drop in and all children and teens are
welcome. Along with lunch, reading and educational enrichment activities
will also be offered.
Library is going far beyond its historic role as merely a place to house books,”
stated Library Director Peter Coyl. “We embrace our responsibility to meet a
broad array of community needs, especially for those most vulnerable.”
are abuzz with children all year round, but especially as they fill the gap for
schools to provide summertime learning through popular reading programs. The
lunch, along with positive enrichment activities, will help ensure kids return
to school healthy and ready to learn.
This program is funded by a grant from Partners for Health Foundation.
To celebrate our 10th anniversary in 2018, Partners for Health Foundation awarded 10 Community Impact Awards, and grants totaling $100,000, to recognize nonprofit organizations and individuals making a significant difference in the health and well-being of local communities.
Watch the videos below to hear how Community Impact Awardees are making a difference in their communities.
Mario Szuchman, MD, Zufall Health
Wally Weikert, Family Service League
Mary Rossettini, Clifton Homeless Task Force
Connections at Home
Carolyn Lack, Aging in Montclair
Ann Lippel,Montclair Senior Citizens Advisory Committee
Art Museum hosted its annual spring fundraising events last week with the Art
Party Luncheon and the Art Party Evening. These events support the Museum’s
exhibitions, the Vance Wall Art Education Center, and engaging diverse
audiences from across the region. Beth Hart, Director of Development, says
about the event, “This annual fundraiser serves as a big thank you to our
supporters and funds our many community programs.”
Art Museum holds a renowned collection of American and Native American art from
the last 300 years. It’s also home to The Vance Wall Art Education Center which
is responsible for the Museum’s educational efforts including classes, lectures
and talks, family events, tours, and the MAM Art Truck.
Walter and Patti Elliott served as the overall Event Co-Chairs.
“These events are a critical lifeline of
support that enables MAM to present the ambitious scope of exhibitions and
programs each year,” says Ms. Walter. “The Art Party will present a festive
series of events all in the spirit of celebrating the impact of the Museum in
our community and honoring this community space as a welcoming, accessible, and
inspiring place for people of all ages,” adds Ms. Elliott
Partners for Health Foundation is humbled to have been chosen as this year’s honoree at the Art Party Luncheon on May 16, 2019. Partners for Health Foundation’s vision to help make the 15 communities weserve in Essex and Passaic counties healthier, better places to live. The luncheon was co-chaired by Susann Connors and Janice Linaugh.
video below to learn more about the Foundation’s mission and vision for our
Teens and young people experience abuse in intimate relationships at disproportionately high levels. Continuing the work reflected in the Start Out Fresh Intervention Advocates (S.O.F.I.A.) tag-line, “With Awareness There is Hope,” the non-profit’s Teen Safe Dating and Healthy Relationship Workshops ensure that young people learn about the warning signs, negative effects, and strategies to help themselves and their peers develop healthy intimate relationships in an interactive and relatable environment.
Presenters, who are trained as Domestic Violence Response Team members, use examples from social media, celebrity news, real life, and even their own experiences to share recognizable situations that delve deeper than cut and dry lists and consequences. Materials are used to supplement and encourage the interactive style of each workshop. With an emphasis on a non-judgmental and inclusive focus, participants take a “quiz” that includes surprising statistics and read aloud from Tweets that emphasize the range included in abusive relationships as well as the reasons some victims may choose to stay in an unhealthy situation.
“After every workshop, we have a few participants approach us with concerns for a friend or family member,” shares Kristin Wald, a regular workshop leader. “It’s clear that helping young people recognize and name abusive behaviors is incredibly important.”
An often moving moment in the Teen Safe Dating workshops is the final activity, when every participant stands and recites a pledge to value a partner’s boundaries, as well as their own, whether they are physical, emotional, sexual, financial or digital. “Even teens who don’t take it seriously can understand the impact of the words,” said Cynthia Walker, S.O.F.I.A.’s founder, “Our goal is to build awareness, and by reciting and reading the Pledge, we know each teen has experienced its meaning. As have their peers.”
The S.O.F.I.A. Teen Safe Dating Workshop has been presented to small groups, classes, and even in auditorium presentations. The values shared and awareness that Love is Respect resonate with both the young people and the adults in their lives. It is not unusual for S.O.F.I.A. to receive requests for repeat workshops and presentations that continue the themes discussed. The Teen Safe Dating and Healthy Relationship workshops help S.O.F.I.A. promote that truly, “With Awareness There is Hope.” By Kristin Wall, S.O.F.I.A. Teen Dating/Outreach Presenter
Kitchen and the YMCA of Montclair have partnered to launch Montclair Bounce (https://montclairbounce.org/), a
week-long festival that will explore opportunities and resources to strengthen
emotional health and connections within the community. Partners for
Health will co-present a screening of Beyond the Silence during the
BOUNCE festival on:
Thursday, June 6th @ 7:00 PM 505 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair
the Silence is a
feature-length, suspense movie that is loosely based on the novel Clipped
Wings They Do Fly by William Michael Barbee. The movie highlights the life
of Billy Ray Michaels, who suffers from multiple personality disorder,
compounded with schizophrenia. He finds himself on trial for murder for a
crime he does not remember committing. Billy Ray is entangled in a world of
confusion which, unbeknownst to him, he created.
The Township of Bloomfield hosted a Hollywood-themed prom for
Bloomfield and Glen Ridge Senior citizens on Friday, May 3. The event
was sponsored by the Neighbor to Neighbor
Network, the Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services, and Bloomfield
College Nursing Students.
Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health Foundation,
was presented with an award in recognition of the Foundation’s continued
support. She is pictured (center) with
(from left): Councilwoman Sarah B. Cruz,
Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia, United States Senator Bob Menendez, and Councilman
Neil Greenstein, owner of Brookdale ShopRite, was also recognized
at the event.
Partners for Health is proud to be a
sponsor of Montclair Film’s KINDNESS
Challenge, taking place throughout the Film Festival (May 3 – 12,
Research shows that even the smallest acts of kindness can
lift a person’s spirits. Kindness, together with empathy, forges a path
forward even when we disagree with another’s behavior or beliefs. This is the
thinking behind the KINDNESS Campaign, which will engage school-age children
throughout Montclair via assemblies and free screenings. Following the
screenings, students will participate in extended conversation around the
issues raised in the films.
Students will also be encouraged to “Take the KINDNESS
Challenge” and share random acts of kindness on social media.
Images that exemplify kindness will be displayed around
Montclair during the festival to engage the entire community in this
On April 3, 2019 the Brookdale Avenue School (Verona, NJ) 3rd grade Brownie Troop had the opportunity to learn more about the work of Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair.
Anne Mernin, Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen, and Jessica from her staff spoke to the girls about the work of Toni’s, answered their many questions and shared with them information about how to volunteer with Toni’s in the future. The troop donated oatmeal and raisins for Toni’s healthy backpack program along with 15 boxes of girl scout cookies that were donated through their cookie booth sale.
Through a Community Impact Awards from the Partners for Health Foundation grant the township will revive its Seniors in Taxis program that ended the first of the year.
With the $6,600 grant, the township will partner with the Ryde4Life program to offset Seniors in Taxis.
Effective immediately, Montclair residents, age 55 or older, will be able to access a credit for Uber/Lyft rides through EZ Ride’s Ryde4Life program. Ryde4Life facilitates Uber/Lyft rides. To participate one just needs a cell phone (doesn’t have to be a smartphone) and a credit or debit card. Sign up for an account by calling 201-939-4242, ext. 4 or visit ryde4life.org. There is an annual fee of $15.
Once you have an account, you can call to get a ride right away. Evening and weekend hours are also available.
And thanks to the Community Impact Awards funding, the first 100 Montclair seniors who sign up will get a $50 credit: $15 to cover the annual fee and $35 in ride credits.
In November, Ann Lippel, chair of Montclair’s Senior Citizens Advisory Committee (SCAC), and Katie York, Montclair’s director of Senior Services/Lifelong Montclair, received the grant. They decided to pool their award money and use it to improve transportation options for Montclair’s older residents.
EZ Ride is also the operator of the Montclair Senior Bus, a free transportation option for Montclair residents ages 55+ and residents of any age with disabilities.
Toni’s Kitchen will partner with The YMCA of Montclair to launch MONTCLAIR BOUNCE: A Festival of Optimism and Resilience, May 31 to June 7, 2019.
The first-annual BOUNCE Festival will explore everyday opportunities and oft-unnoticed resources to strengthen emotional health and connections to the community. This townwide, playful adventure will also do the serious work of offering essential practices and vital connections.
Sample events include: Blue Plate Bounce, an arts-infused outdoor community meal, Been There — And Back, a moveable feast of diverse and seasoned life experts and Here, There and Everywhere: Nature, Exercise & Spirituality, forays into Montclair’s mind/body/soul resources. In addition, readings and speaker panels; dance and theater performances and even a Happy Mapping Montclair project are planned for the week.
“This collaboration between Toni’s Kitchen and the Montclair YMCA is a natural fit,” said Anne Mernin, Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen. “Both organizations recognize the connection between physical and emotional health and design programming to strengthen them.”
Montclair Bounce events will reflect research-based keys to promoting optimism and resilience including acting with empathy, confronting fears, fostering positive relationships, and community alliances. The Festival will bring together a range of organizations and groups to develop and curate the weeks’ activities.
“Opportunities for optimism and resilience can be found in everyday places and in people all around us,” says Buddy Evans, executive firector of the Montclair Y. “Montclair Bounce will tap into those resources to enrich all our lives.”
Bounce events will be accessible to all. Funds raised will support ongoing programming at the YMCA of Montclair and Toni’s Kitchen designed to build emotional health and resilience.
Partners for Health was proud to recognize John Fromhold, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Mountainside Medical Center, as the honoree of the Foundation’s Annual Golf Tournament on July 16, 2019.
Since 2008, Partners for Health Foundation has made grants totaling $3.6 million to address Hunger & Homelessness in Montclair and surrounding communities. Sponsorship support of the Golf outing by Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center – the event’s exclusive, PREMIER Sponsor – has helped us to make a difference in the lives of countless families who struggle to put food on the table and those who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
In 2007, John Fromhold was instrumental in identifying the hospital (formerly known as Mountainside) as an acquisition candidate for Merit Health Systems, a private company based in Louisville, KY, where he was a partner and Senior Vice President. He subsequently relocated to New Jersey to assume the role of CEO and personally oversee the hospital’s transformation. Since the acquisition of Merit, the hospital has undergone a successful and dramatic revitalization, without sacrificing the integrity of the 125+ year old hospital, or the special, distinctive spirit of community and cooperation that sets it apart from others.
Recognizing that network
affiliations were becoming increasingly essential to maintaining clinical
excellence and financial viability, in 2012 he was instrumental in negotiating
the sale of Mountainside to a not-for-profit/for-profit joint venture network between
Hackensack University Medical Center and LHP Hospital Group, now Hackensack
Meridian Health and Ardent Health
Services. Prior to joining Merit, John
was a Group Vice President for Community Health Systems with direct
responsibility for 13 hospitals in five states.
He also held senior management positions with Humana and HCA. He is a Fellow of the American College of
John and his wife Cheryl
live in Verona, New Jersey and have four sons and two granddaughters.
On January 23, 2019 Clifton participated for the first time in its own annual statewide homeless point in time count, held every January. A task force was formed last fall, and among the goals it laid out was getting an estimate of the homeless population. On this day, free services were provided to those in need at the Catherine A. Rowe Transitional Housing Program.
Visitors to the center were
provided breakfast or lunch, and had the opportunity to utilize many of the
free services, including: clothing, haircuts, health screenings, as well as information
on housing, social security, mental health services, veteran services and more.
In total, 19 individuals were reached on this day.
“The event shows what can happen when a community comes together to end homelessness. St. Peter’s Haven is committed to inviting everyone in Clifton to join the movement against hunger and homelessness,” said Kevin Donahue.
We would like to extend a special thank you to all the organizations that were involved in this event:
• Adult Family Health Services • Assurance Wireless • Catholic Family and Community Services • Clifton Department of Public Works • Clifton Fire Department • Clifton Health Department • Clifton Homeless Task Force • Clifton Police Department • Collaborative Support Programs • Eva’s Village Recovery Community Center • Hackensack Meridian Health • Hair Ambition • Monarch Housing • North Hudson Community Action FQHC • Passaic County Board of Social Services • Passaic County One-Stop • Paterson Coalition for Housing • St. Peter’s Haven
The Partners for Health Foundation Board of
Trustees elected Sara Elnakib to the Board for a three-year term, effective
Sara has worked in community nutrition for more
than 10 years. She joined the Rutgers Cooperative Extension in the Department
of Family and Community Health Sciences as an Assistant Professor in January
2015. As part of her role as a member of the Passaic County Food Policy
Council, she focuses on food insecurity and improving food access within the County.
Sara is also interested in food waste in
institutional settings and how behavioral economics can be leveraged to reduce
Prior to the faculty appointment at Rutgers
University, Sara served as the Health and Nutrition Director for a Head Start
Program in Montclair, and as an Adjunct Professor at Montclair State
University. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the Rutgers University, School
of Public Health. She earned her Bachelors of Science from Rutgers University
in Nutritional Science and a Masters of Public Health in Health Education and
Behavioral Science from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
At the December Board meeting, Chris Petermann, Chair, praised the tremendous contributions of three members who are leaving the Partners for Health Board on December 31, 2018.
Fred Guterl who served as a Trustee from mid-2016 through 2018, was an active and thoughtful member of the Nominating and Grants Committees. He was instrumental in planning the 10 Year Anniversary Celebration, serving as Chair of the Communications Committee and as a member of the Awards Selection Committee. In addition to his unique perspective and flair with words, Fred contributed his musical talents, performing with the “Fred Guterl Jazz Quartet” at a Board social gathering in the spring of 2018.
John Kelly holds the unique distinction of being the last Trustee who previously served on the Mountainside Hospital Foundation Board. He was re-elected to the Foundation Board in 2012 following a one-year hiatus. John was honored for his immeasurable contributions at the Foundation’s 2018 Golf Tournament, which he’s chaired since 2013 and will continue to chair in 2019. John served as a Board Officer, most recently as Treasurer, and was an active member of the Development and Finance Committees. Through his lovely wife, Patrice, the Foundation has supported the A Lot to Grow gardens, which grow and donate fresh produce to local food pantries and soup kitchens.
Kevin Rendino has been a true leader during his time as a Trustee (2011-2018), including the years when he served as only the third Board Chair of the Foundation from 2013 through 2017. In April 2016, Kevin was honored with an EPIC Award as one of the “Exceptional People Impacting our Communities” by the New Jersey Institute for Nursing, in recognition of his leadership in making our communities healthier. During his tenure, the Foundation awarded nearly $6 million in grants!
In August 2018, Karen DeLuca, a local artist, art instructor and graphic designer, spent two mornings at the Montclair Community Farms “Farm Camp.” She invited the campers, ages 7-11, to paint images informed by their one-week camp experience.
Fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers that were picked on the farm – along with eggs, honey and honeycombs – were arranged in the center of their work space. Karen gave a basic art lesson on the placement and size of a subject on the page, and working with colors and their values. She also explained how to mix basic colors to get others. The campers did a light sketch and then the painting began with real enthusiasm!
The Montclair Community Farm’s “Farm Camp” is a summer program that focuses on food access, farm work and challenges and opportunities in our food system. Campers also prepare food for local pantries.
The Montclair Community Farm Coalition engages the community in sustainable agriculture and affordable food access. Members include HOMECorp, Montclair Department of Health and Human Services, Montclair History Center, Montclair State University, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Essex County: Essex 4-H and Master Gardeners, and Montclair Public Schools gardening program, DIGS.
The Coalition is funded in part by Partners for Health as part of the Foundation’s efforts to address local hunger by increasing access to affordable fresh, local produce. Funding is also provided by the USDA and community members.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Partners for Health Foundation awarded 10 Community Impact Awards, and grants totaling $100,000, to recognize nonprofit organizations and individuals making a significant difference in the health and well-being of local communities. The awardees were selected from 65 nominations that cited contributions in areas such as hunger, homelessness, chronic disease prevention, oral health, and mental health. The awards were presented at a celebratory event emceed by Jim Axelrod, Senior National Correspondent for CBS News.
“Each of the awardees has an amazing story to tell about what inspired them, what they have been able to accomplish, and what they aspire to achieve. We are honored to partner with them to accomplish even more,” said Pam Scott, Partners for Health Foundation’s executive director. “Their collective stories portray dedicated advocates, volunteers, caregivers, unsung heroes and leaders, along with the tens of thousands of lives they touch.”
The Partners for Health Foundation 2018 Community Impact Awardees are:
Mario Szuchman, MD, Zufall Health, West Orange – Access to Health
KinderSmile Foundation, Bloomfield – Oral Health
Wally Weikert, Family Service League, Montclair – Mental Health
Mary Rossettini, Clifton Homeless Task Force – Homelessness Prevention
Connections at Home, Verona – Aging in Place
Carolyn Lack, Aging in Montclair; Ann Lippel, Montclair Senior Citizens Advisory Committee;
and Katie York, Lifelong Montclair – Aging in Place
YMCA of Montclair – Chronic Disease Prevention (Healthy Eating and Active Living)
Human Needs Food Pantry, Montclair; and Anne Mernin, Toni’s Kitchen, Montclair –
City Green – Chronic Disease Prevention (Healthy Eating and Active Living)
Adele Katz, Sister to Sister, Montclair – Youth Resiliency
The Board of Trustees of Partners for Health Foundation also presented its 10-Year Anniversary Founder’s Award to longtime Board member Paul A. Lisovicz of Glen Ridge, who served as a Trustee from 2005-2015 and Board Chair from 2009-2013. The Founder’s Award recognizes an individual whose efforts significantly shaped the Foundation through commitment, innovation, professional expertise, philanthropy and overall leadership.
Partners for Health Foundation fosters collaboration among nonprofits so that, together, they can increase positive health outcomes in the communities they serve. A key focus provides access to healthy food and physical activity as a way to prevent chronic disease. The Foundation also supports the issues of homelessness, aging, mental health, community safety and more. Since 2008, Partners for Health Foundation has awarded more than $12 million through 341 grants to 132 organizations.
Partners for Health Foundation’s Board of Trustees presented its 10-Year Anniversary Founder’s Award to longtime Board member Paul A. Lisovicz, who served as a Trustee from 2005-2015 and Board Chair from 2009-2013.
The Founder’s Award was established to recognize an individual whose efforts significantly shaped the Foundation through commitment, innovation, professional expertise, philanthropy and overall leadership. The award was presented on November 29, 2018, when the Foundation also recognized 10 Community Impact Awardees who are making extraordinary contributions to health and well-being.
Paul Lisovicz was elected the Foundation’s second Board Chair shortly after it had begun to operate as an independent public charity and had made its first community health grants in 2008. During his tenure as Chair, Paul guided Partners for Health through its formative years. He was also the first Chair of the Board’s Trusteeship Committee when it was established in 2014. He remains active as a former Trustee, serving on the Partners for Health Golf Committee that raises funds to support the Foundation’s mission, and its Leadership Advisory Council.
Chris Petermann, current Board Chair, and Kevin Rendino, who served as Chair from 2014-2017, noted that, “Paul was instrumental in transitioning Partners for Health to its new mission. We are delighted to recognize him for his past and continuing contributions.”
“I’ve known Paul on a personal and professional level for more than 25 years. He has a great understanding of what public service means and is deeply committed to positively impacting the community,” adds John Kelly, Board Treasurer and Chair of the Golf Committee. “Paul helped shape the Foundation into what it is today, collaborating seamlessly with Trustees and staff with a level of integrity that was universally appreciated and respected.”
Paul is a Partner at the law firm of Kinney Lisovicz Reilly & Wolff PC. His practice is concentrated in the areas of product liability and commercial litigation. He resides with his wife, Joan, in Glen Ridge, NJ, where they raised their three children, Jessica, Edan and Phillip, and where Paul has been a member of the Borough Council for the past 12 years.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to receive the Founder’s Award, especially during this milestone anniversary year,” says Paul Lisovicz. “I’m proud to have been part of the development of Partners for Health, proud of what we accomplished during my tenure, and most of all, proud that the Foundation has developed a reputation as an anchor institution addressing the health of our community.”
With a grant from Partners for Health Foundation, the Montclair Child Development Center has been able to remove carpet and install child-friendly, non-porous floors at their Montclair school. More than 10% of the children who attend MCDC have asthma and more than 25% have allergies, both of which cause labored breathing at times. These children are absent from school twice as often as their peers who do not suffer from these chronic medical conditions. Absence from school impacts the child’s learning, and children who are chronically absent do not learn as much or as well as their peers.
The non-porous floors were installed in time for the beginning of the 2018 school year, and MCDC has already heard praise and appreciation from families and staff. Many returning parents have expressed how much healthier the environment is with the change in the flooring. “I am so grateful for the new floors because they make the room breathable and fresh,” said one parent. A returning student observed, “Everything is new in the classroom.”
Chanel, pictured above, said she likes the new floor. Her mom expressed how fresh and new it looked in the building.
“For our first month of school, the attendance rate for children with asthma and allergies was 91% which is a marked improvement from 89%. We are striving for 94% by December 2018”, said Susan Chaberski, Deputy Director of Finance at MCDC.
The Montclair Child Development Center, Inc (MCDC) is a private non-profit 501(c)3 corporation that has provided quality early childhood education for over 45 years. Today, MCDC represents more than four decades of providing Head Start and Early Head Start services to low income families. MCDC is dedicated to serving families living at or below the federal poverty level who live in Montclair, Bloomfield, Belleville, Orange, and West Orange. Learn more athttp://www.mcdcnj.org/
Renowned geriatrician and visionary Dr. Bill Thomas’s ChangingAging tour is coming to northern New Jersey! The tour kicks off in Ridgewood on November 7th and continues in Montclair for two live “nonfiction theater” stage productions on November 8th.
Featuring Dr. Bill Thomas, international recording artist Samité and reggae legend Nate Silas Richardson, the tour explores the second half of life by blending storytelling, live music, theater, mythology, breathtaking visual art with medical science.
More than 13 million kids in the country go to school hungry, and hunger detracts from their ability to focus on learning during the school day. That’s why Partners for Heath Foundation is taking action to make sure children in Northern New Jersey get a healthy breakfast this school year.
Our very own Kathy Smith was at CBS-TV New York, and Pam Scott at Jersey Matters (WJLP-TV) talking about Breakfast After the Bell in NJ.
“If a child is hungry, they may present with headaches or stomach aches, more visits to the nurse, or they just act out and they don’t even know why. They’re hungry,” Program Director Kathy Smith told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes and Cindy Hsu.
Watch the videos below to learn about local efforts to ensure students have the healthy start they need to succeed in school!
Many students who attend Bloomfield elementary schools qualify for a free breakfast. but many of those students aren’t able to get to school early to receive the meal.
Berkeley Elementary School is now implementing a new pilot of “Breakfast after the Bell” through a partnership with Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services. The school hosted a kick-off and registration event on Wednesday, August 29th.
Kudos to Bloomfield Township for making sure their students are free from hunger during the school day!
To learn more about the event click here or watch the videos below.
The New Jersey Healthy Communities Network’s Community Grants Program brings together local, regional, and statewide funders, leaders and partners to support communities in implementing healthy eating and active living strategies to advance environment, policy and system changes.
Since 2011, the NJHCN Community Grants Program has provided $3.2 million in grants.
Partners for Health Foundation is proud to be supporting 7 organizations through this initiative.
Bloomfield Department of Health and Human Services
A new self-guided walking and biking tour booklet that highlights some of Montclair’s historic districts is now available through the Montclair History Center. The booklet includes six self-guided tours, five of which are less than 2 miles and can easily be accomplished on foot. A tour of the Montclair Art Colony’s studios and homes is a longer (8 miles) biking tour. The booklet was made possible through a grant from Partners for Health Foundation.
“The guided walking tours we conduct are some of our more popular programs,” says Jane Eliasof, Executive Director of the Montclair History Center. “We’ll continue to lead guided tours throughout different communities in town, plus cemetery tours of Rosedale and Mount Hebron, and our food and history walking tour that takes you through downtown Montclair talking about our history and sampling some of the restaurants’ foods.”
The booklet is an adaptation of those guided walking tours, but it allows people to go at their own pace at a time that is most convenient to them. The six tours were designed as a result of a survey the Montclair History Center fielded earlier this year. According to the survey, most people wanted tours that were between one and two miles long. The tour locations — Montclair Town Center, Watchung Plaza Historic District, South Mountain Estate Section, Upper Montclair Historic District, the Pine Street Historic District, and the Montclair Art Colony – were based on the top six choices in the survey. In the future, the Montclair History Center hopes to add more self-guided walking tours of other areas of Montclair.
In the survey, the Montclair Art Colony was the most requested tour. As a result of the overwhelming interest in this tour, the Montclair History Center, in partnership with BikeWalk Montclair and the Montclair Art Museum, will lead a guided biking tour going past the artists’ studios and homes on November 3 at XX am. Interested bikers can register at www.montclairhistory.org.
“Our guided tours are more in-depth than these self-guided tours,” explains Eliasof. “However, these self-guided tours give people who can’t or won’t attend a guided tour a great overview of the history of Montclair through its people and its architecture.
The booklet is available in printed form and electronically on the Montclair History Center’s website www.montclairhistory.org.
Toni’s Kitchen’s Summer Love Food Program, running from June 25 through August 31, works to ensure local children at summer camps, preschools, libraries and sports programs are well fed all summer long.
Summer can be a tough time for low-income families. As school closes, breakfast and lunch programs that children rely on disappear. Working families find themselves facing increased food costs as well as the expense of covering childcare or summer camps. It’s a hefty impact for families that are already stretched.
Toni’s Kitchen is working with dozens of community partner programs throughout the summer months to ensure healthy food is available where children gather. Brown bag lunches with healthy sandwiches and fresh fruit are available at the Montclair and Bloomfield public libraries as well as summer programs throughout our local area. Backpacks filled with healthy staples – oatmeal, tuna, raisins, etc. – are also going home with children enrolled in local preschool and tutoring programs. Keeping kids healthy and growing in safe affordable programs builds resilience for families.
These initiatives are supported by Partners for Health Foundation, as well as Nicolos Italian Bakery and Deli which provides of fresh bread for the sandwiches.
Partners for Health recognized John F. Kelly for his leadership of the 2018 Golf outing, an event he has chaired since 2013. Through the generous sponsorship of Frenkel & Company – and so many others – the Tournament has raised more than $1.1 million since John joined the Foundation Board in 2005.
John has more than 35 years of experience in the insurance industry and founded the Frenkel National Accounts Department in 1985. Over the past 35 years, John has worked extensively in both the domestic and London markets and has enhanced Frenkel’s reputation in the French market with both insurers and brokers. In 2001, John led the management buyout of Frenkel’s ESOP and returned Frenkel & Company to private ownership. As President and CEO, he remains actively involved in the more complex accounts within Frenkel. He is a member and past president of the New York Chapter of the Society of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriters.
In addition to serving as a Trustee of Partners for Health, John is on the Insurance Executive Board of the Atlantic Health System, a Director of A Lot to Grow, a Council Member at the University of Notre Dame for the College of Arts and Letters, and a Board Member of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation.
John and his wife, Dr. Patrice Kelly, Founder and Executive Director of A Lot to Grow, reside in Glen Ridge and New York City.
As suburban poverty has risen, more and more local residents have struggled to put food on the table. Soup kitchens and food pantries report sharp increases in demand for their services, while their usual sources of support cannot keep up with increased demand for food. Partners for Health Foundation launched its fresh produce grants program in response to this growing crisis. The grants emerged from a three-meeting “hunger” colloquium sponsored by the Foundation in 2009.
According to Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health, “Fresh produce grants are part of the Foundation’s strategy to fight local hunger, and we’re proud to have awarded $656,164 since the program was launched. She adds, “This effort is vital. Inadequate intake of costly fruits and vegetables is prevalent among all Americans, but particularly so among low income populations, who also experience higher rates of chronic health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.”
Produce grants are currently awarded to these pantries and kitchens in Montclair: Human Needs Food Pantry, Salvation Army, Toni’s Kitchen, and Seventh Day Adventist Pantry and Meal Program. St. Peter’s Haven Family Shelter and Healthy Food Pantry in Clifton also receives funding.
Soup kitchens and food pantries report on the impact the grants are making:
At Toni’s Kitchen, funds ensure that fresh vegetables and fruits are served at every meal, and that guests can be given produce to take with them for later in the week. Toni’s also sends 10 bags of produce into one of the local schools on a weekly basis. The bags are then placed in the classrooms for children who have ‘forgotten’ to bring a snack. Anne Mernin, Director of Outreach, adds, “Because the fruit is set out for all of the children, its availability is normalized and there is no stigma or shame in reaching for something.”
Michele Kroeze, Business Manager of TheSalvation Army, says, “With this grant, we’re able to serve our guests better quality meals throughout the year. On Thanksgiving Day, we provide more than 1,200 meals on site and through delivery to area shelters, senior housing facilities and to housebound individuals. Side dishes for these meals are now made entirely with fresh vegetables
Rev. Peter DeFranco of St. Peter’s Haven Family Shelter and Healthy Food Pantry notes the produce grants led to a collaborative venture with NJ SNAP Ed, a nutritional program offered through Rutgers University to low-income SNAP participants. The program has helped clients to identify and adopt changes leading to a healthier lifestyle. “We’ve seen a shift in our clients’ perspective on how fresh produce can benefit them and their families.”
Many who visit the food pantry at the First Seventh Day Adventist Church of Montclair are now eating a more balanced diet. “We’re encouraged to see that food recipients recognize the importance of eating vegetables and fruits and that they are gradually able to move away from preprocessed foods,” says Pastor Paula Olivier.
The Human Needs Food Pantry continues to see increases in the number of clients and currently serves an average of 1,700 people each week. “The Partners for Health grants cover nearly half of our yearly produce expenses,” says Mike Bruno, Executive Director. “We are more than grateful for this budget relief and simply would not be able to keep up if not for their generous support.”
A volunteer prepares bags of fresh produce for distribution to clients of the Human Needs Food Pantry.
On Wednesday, June 13th Partners for Health hosted a nonprofit advocacy learning session at the Van Vleck House and Gardens. About 50 individuals representing nonprofit organizations from the Foundation’s service area attended this event.
The panel discussion, led by John Mooney, Chief Executive Officer & Founding Editor of NJ Spotlight, touched on best practices and successful advocacy stories in the field. The panelists included:
Brandon McKoy, Director of Government and Public Affairs, New Jersey Policy Perspective
Kate Kelly, Associate, Monarch Housing Associates
Cecilia Zalkind, President & Chief Executive Officer, Advocates for Children of New Jersey
Thank you to all who attended and our panelists for making this such a successful event!
Partners for Health was recognized with The Salvation Army Montclair Citadel “Community Partnership Award” at the 12th Annual Coffee and a Cause event on Thursday, May 3, 2018. The award was presented to Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation by Major Kevin Stoops and Michele Kroeze, Business Manager of the Salvation Army.
Guest speakers at the program included Commissioner Jim Knaggs, who completed his appointment as The Salvation Army’s Territorial Commander for the USA Western Territory in December 2016, and Detective Sergeant Charlie Cunningham, who supervises the Vice Crimes Unit at the Montclair Police Department. Pam Scott also shared an overview of the work of Partners for Health.
The Salvation Army Montclair Citadel has provided a continuum of care to the homeless and disadvantaged in our community for more than 35 years. Operating since 2009 in a newly constructed facility on Trinity Place, The Salvation Army Montclair Citadel serves Essex County in the provision of emergency services to the homeless and imminently homeless which include, but are not limited to: shelter for the homeless, drop in center services, shower program, utility and rental assistance, food pantry, furniture and clothing assistance, congregate feeding, information and referral services, counseling and support services.
Montclair Film Festival’s Emerging Filmmaker, co-presented by Partners for Health Foundation and Gelotti, celebrates the work of local filmmakers in two filmmaking sections: Storytellers (Grades 6-8) and Visionaries (Grades 9-12). These films represent a wide range of styles and voices that showcase the diverse talents of young people who are using cinema to tell their stories. Categories include narrative, comedy, documentary, and experimental films.
Awards were presented in each of these categories, as well as for films that make a social impact, and a new Partners for Health Foundation “Speak Out!” Award.
“Our sponsorship provides a platform to showcase young voices through film, a theme the Foundation launched in 2016 that supports our mental health/youth resiliency focus area,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health.
The New Jersey Library Association will award Partners for Health Foundation the 2018 Library Service Award for their funding of health related programs at the Montclair Public Library. The award will be presented at the New Jersey Library Association Annual Conference awards ceremony on Thursday, May 31 from 6-8 pm at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City.
In 2017, Partners for Health Foundation helped fund a number of health-related programs at the Montclair Public Library, including a summer lunch program designed to feed children who did not have access to the free and reduced lunch program due the summer break from school. Around 15% of Montclair Public School students are eligible for the government sponsored lunch program. Funding from Partners for Health Foundation provided summer library staff who organized and served the lunches donated by Toni’s Kitchen. In the ten weeks the program was active the Library served 2,383 lunches to children.
“The summer lunch program fills an important need, ensuring children from low-income families can return to school in the fall ready to learn. We are proud to support this innovative collaboration between the Montclair Public Library and Toni’s Kitchen,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director, Partners for Health Foundation.
Thanks to continued funding from Partners for Health Foundation and the generosity of Toni’s Kitchen the Library will again be serving lunches to children from June 25 to August 31, 2018.
“It’s so exciting to see Partners for Health recognized in this way. This partnership with the Montclair Public Library, Toni’s Kitchen and the Foundation provides a model for keeping low-income children engaged, healthy and learning throughout the summer months,” said Anne Mernin, Executive Director of Toni’s Kitchen.
“We are grateful to Partners for Health Foundation for their support of the Library and the children of Montclair. We were honored to nominate them and recognize all they do to help promote health and wellness in our community,” added Peter Coyl, Director of Montclair Public Library.
Partners for Health is pleased to welcome Tom Creaser as a new Trustee. Tom is a finance, operations and strategy executive presently serving as Vice President of Finance and Operations for Jazz House Kids, Inc., the Montclair-based nonprofit arts organization, which helps transform the lives of K-12 students via year-round education that develops musical potential, enhances leadership/life skills and strengthens academic performance. Tom’s for-profit experience includes senior finance, operations and strategy roles in the media industry with the Walt Disney Company, CBS and in media investment banking. Tom is a graduate of the College of Holy Cross and Columbia Business School. He and his wife, Mary, and their three children live in Montclair.
Chris Petermann, Board Chair, is pleased to welcome four Trustees to the Partners for Health Foundation Board. “We’re delighted to have the expertise and diverse perspectives of these new Board members and are confident their contributions will enhance our work.”
Lisa Amato returns to the Partners for Health following a two-year hiatus, having previously served on the Foundation Board from 2008-2015. She is also on the Boards of the Montclair Art Museum and KIPP New Jersey. KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) is part of a non-profit network of college-preparatory, free, public charter schools educating elementary, middle and high school students. In addition, Lisa is working with Claire Panke as a producer on the documentary film, “Light Years,” a work in progress that profiles three people and offers an antidote to outdated notions about aging. Lisa is a graduate of Pace University, where she earned a BBA Degree in Accounting. She and her husband, Joe, have three children and they live in Essex Fells and New York City.
Katherine M. Kelly is an advocacy and public policy professional with more than 15 years of experience working to end homelessness and build stronger communities. She is currently an Associate with Monarch Housing Associates in Cranford, NJ. Kate previously worked as the Reaching Home Campaign Manager for Partnership for Stronger Communities in Hartford, CT. She holds a BA Degree in Government from the University of Notre Dame, and she graduated from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, where she earned her Masters of Social Work. Kate is active in her hometown of Verona, serving as a Trustee of the Verona Public Library, a Brownie troop leader, and a fundraising volunteer for the Brookdale Avenue School SCA. She and her husband David Ten Broeck, have two daughters.
Beverly M. Riddick is Executive Director of the Ready To Work Business Collaborative (RTWBC), an employer coalition that develops hiring best practices targeted at ready to work talent, with a focus on those who are overlooked despite being re-skilled or up-skilled to meet the needs of today’s evolving economy. She previously served for 20 years as the Executive Director of Homes of Montclair Ecumenical Corp (HOMECorp), where she was responsible for the development and implementation of community revitalization programs and initiatives for low, moderate and middle income families. Prior to this, Beverly was a real estate/workout banking specialist at First National Bank of Boston (now Bank of America) and later at Chemical Bank New Jersey (now PNC Bank). She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College where she majored in Urban Studies. Following Mount Holyoke, she was awarded a twelve-month fellowship to the Coro Foundation. She later obtained a Master’s Degree in Public Policy Analysis at Claremont Graduate University. Beverly and her husband Ron have 2 children; they reside in Montclair.
Tekeyah S. Sears, EdD, MPH is an Adjunct Faculty member in the Department of Public Health at William Paterson University in Wayne, and at Montclair State University in Montclair. Her teaching focus is on helping students make healthier decisions in key areas including mental health, stress management, sexuality, addiction, diet, weight management and fitness. She is also the Founder and CEO of the I “AM” Project, which creates a space where young women can be inspired and empowered on the values of leadership, mentorship, self-love and sisterhood. Her previous jobs include positions with Public Health Solutions and the AIDS Service Center of Lower Manhattan, both located in New York City; and ASPIRA, Inc. and St. Michael’s Medical Center, both in Newark. Tekeyah holds a Doctor of Education from Columbia University, Teachers College; and two degrees from Pennsylvania State University: a Master’s in Public Health and a B.S. in BioBehavioral Health. She lives in Orange.
Pictured above (left to right): Beverly Riddick, Lisa Amato, Kate Kelly and Tekeyah Sears
Everyone has a unique story to tell. Slam My Story! gives high school students an opportunity to share their own individual story and/or college essay. Submit your story and you may be chosen to read or perform LIVE at Montclair Film’s Cinema505 during the Montclair Literary Festival on Sunday, March 18th. The top performers will go on to perform LIVE at Montclair Film’s adult StorySlam at the Wellmont Theater on Saturday, April 28th as part of the Montclair Film Festival. Selected stories will also help launch Montclair Film’s NEW podcast series!
For Questions, please call: 973-705-0813
Slam My Story! is an ongoing series. If your story is not selected for the premier on March 18th, you will be included for consideration at the next Slam My Story!
This program is sponsored, in part, by a grant from
The Montclair Police Department, Montclair Fire Department, and Montclair Ambulance Unit have collaborated through Lifelong Montclair, the Township’s aging in place initiative, to give our senior residents more peace of mind. “Operation Blue Angel” is intended to provide Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) access to a residence in the event of an emergency where the resident is unable to open the door.
As part of funding from the Partners for Health Foundation, eligible residents will be provided with a free lock box. The key, provided by the applicant, will be stored in the secure lock box near the entrance to their residence. The access code to the lock box will only be available to first responder personnel and used only during an emergency. The Community Service Unit (CSU) supervisor will assign an officer from the unit to respond to the applicant residence to recode the lockbox. Whenever the lock box is entered during the hours when the CSU is not available dispatch will send an email and voicemail to the supervisor of the CSU advising him/her of the incident. The applicant and/or the emergency contact person listed on their application will be provided with the new code. The new code will transmit to dispatch via email and logged by the Lock Box Coordinator.
To be eligible to enroll in “Operation Blue Angel” lock box program, Montclair residents should meet the following requirements: they must be 55 years or older or have medical conditions that could lead to incapacitation and live alone or are alone for extended periods of time on a regular basis.
The Trustees of the Partners for Health Foundation have elected a new Board Chair, Christopher Petermann, effective January 1, 2018. He replaces Kevin Rendino, who had been Chair from 2014-2017.
Chris is a partner at PFK O’Connor Davies, LLP, an accounting and advisory firm. He has more than 30 years of experience serving a multitude of nonprofit organizations and is a frequent speaker on a variety of exempt organization topics. Chris is the former Board Chair and a current Board member of Exponent Philanthropy, the country’s largest association of funders. He also serves as a Trustee of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the William F. Grupe Foundation, and is a member of the Board of the Kearny Financial Corporation.
Chris earned his Bachelor of Science degree in accounting from Bucknell University. He and his wife, Theresa, live in Verona and are active members of the community.
Partners for Health fosters collaboration among nonprofits so that, together, they can increase positive health outcomes in the communities they serve. A key focus area is providing access to healthy food and physical activity as a way to prevent chronic disease. The Foundation also supports the issues of homelessness, aging, mental health, community safety and more.
Since 2008, Partners for Health has awarded more than $11.5 million through 165 grants, and partnered with more than 70 organizations, congregations, school districts and municipalities. The Foundation will mark its 10th anniversary in 2018 with Community Impact Awards, a program that will distribute a total of $100,000 to celebrate 10 individuals and organizations – including unsung heroes and rising stars – who are making extraordinary contributions to the health and well-being of their communities.
Commenting on his election as Board Chair, Chris said, “I’m proud to assume the leadership of a committed Board and dedicated staff, especially during this milestone year when we are celebrating the Foundation’s 10th Anniversary.”
More than 840 community members opened their hearts and wallets during the 2017 holiday season, donating $450,000+ to the Matching Grants Program sponsored by Partners for Health Foundation. With the Foundation’s $1 to $1 match, grants totaling more than $900,000 have been distributed to 11 local soup kitchens, food pantries and agencies that provide services to those who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless.
Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health, remarked, “Since 2014, the Foundation’s Matching Grants program has generated donations of close to $1 million and resulted in grants totaling $1.9 million. These funds enhance efforts to fight hunger and homelessness, helping our neighbors in need at a time when they need it most.”
“The matching grants program encourages donors large and small to invest in improving the overall health of our communities. We are proud to be included in this visionary program which is transforming our work,” said Anne Mernin, Director of Outreach at Toni’s Kitchen. “Funds will be used immediately to expand our Healthy Backpack program and to improve our Take-Away Food program for onsite meal guests. We will also expand volunteer opportunities in response to the community’s growing interest in understanding and addressing food needs.”
Comments from other grantees reveal more about how these funds are impacting the community:
Patrice Kelly, Director of A Lot to Grow, notes, “We are building a solar greenhouse at the Benson Street garden in Glen Ridge to maximize the annual yield of vegetables. This greenhouse will allow us to adapt to local climate trends, while providing space for educational programs for individual gardeners and civic, religious and school organizations. Our six gardens have to shut down between November and March but the solar greenhouse will be open throughout the year.”
“We believe all people have the right to access high quality, healthy food and these matching funds support City Green’s efforts to increase production of farm fresh vegetables distributed through our mobile markets,” said Jennifer Papa, Executive Director of City Green.
“Demand continues to increase for HOMECorp’s counseling services as well as affordable housing units. Partners for Health has become a key partner in our efforts to maintain and expand our scope of services,” said David Grill, President, Board of Trusteesof HOMECorp.
According to Mike Bruno, Executive Director of the Human Needs Food Pantry, “The Pantry served 1,200 households in 2017, plus we delivered food to another 220 households. Matching funds and various other grants from Partners for Health are directly responsible for our ability to provide fresh produce, a wide variety of healthy foods and nutritional supplements to all of our struggling neighbors who come to us for assistance.”
“This grant helps IHN deliver shelter, food, transportation and support services to homeless families, as well as more than 300 hours of case management for families in a housing crisis. The support is particularly important to bridge our funding through the spring, when shelter funds from government sources run low,” said Emma Justice, Executive Director of the Interfaith Hospitality Network of Essex County.
Gwen Parker Ames, Ed.D., Executive Director of MESH, added, “Matching grants support 10 Bloomfield College students who become homeless during semester recesses, a meal pass program for 50 commuter students, and our new transitional housing program that prepares seniors for independent living, health and wellness, career readiness and financial success.”
“In 2017, Montclair Community Farms distributed 1,200 pounds of affordable produce to local residents with lower and fixed incomes. We engaged more than 500 volunteers in service learning projects, and provided educational experiences to 350 children. These funds will help us to increase our community food access goals by launching a greenhouse program,” noted Matthew Duker, Head Farmer of Montclair Community Farms.
“Nutley Family Service Bureau partnered with the Nutley School District to offer immediate eligibility to all families qualifying for the Free and Reduced School Lunch Program in 2017, which increased participation in our Food Pantry program by more than 20%. Matching funds will provide us with the support necessary to continue our mission and plan for future programming,” said Eileen Painter,Executive Director of the Nutley Family Service Bureau.
“Demand for supplemental food aid from Saint Peter’s Healthy Food Pantry increased 40% last year, from 680 individuals served in January 2017 to 954 individuals served December 2017. We rely on support from generous donors and Partners for Health to keep serving these individuals,” said Kevin Donahue, Executive Director of Saint Peter’s Healthy Food Pantry in Clifton.
Michele Kroeze, Business Manager of the Salvation Army, noted, “Monies from the grant will help us to extend our drop in center hours and hours at the Cornerstone House when weather conditions warrant it. We have already experienced harsh weather conditions this winter and the season is far from over. We are committed to serving the most vulnerable members of this community and are grateful for this support of our endeavors.”
Partners for Health fosters collaboration among nonprofits so that, together, they can increase positive health outcomes in the communities they serve. Since 2008, the Foundation has awarded more than $11.5 million through 165 grants, and partnered with more than 70 organizations, congregations, school districts and municipalities. The Foundation will mark its 10th anniversary in 2018 with Community Impact Awards, a program that will distribute a total of $100,000 to celebrate 10 individuals and organizations – including unsung heroes and rising stars – who are making extraordinary contributions to the health and well-being of their communities.
Following up on its huge success of the last 5 years, the Montclair Bikery’s 5th Annual Turkey Ride to collect turkeys for the Human Needs Food Pantry took place on Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017. Cyclists met at the Montclair Bikery at 145 Valley Road at 9:00 a.m. and rode 15-mile circuitous route to the Brookdale Shoprite on Broad Street, Bloomfield to buy turkeys.
This year, 255 frozen turkeys were delivered by bike to the Human Needs Food Pantry, along with $14,523 in donations, which was then matched by Partners for Health Foundation, resulting in a $29,046 donation to the pantry!
Left to Right: Mike Bruno, Executive Director of Human Needs Food Pantry; Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health Foundation; Linda Sterling, Ride Organizer and former Food Pantry Board President; Dave Adornato, Owner of Montclair Bikery; Tami Furman, Montclair Bikery Manager.
“Funds raised during the Annual Turkey Ride help to address the persistent issue of hunger in our community, while giving participants an incentive to be physically active. We’re proud that our matching grants program has contributed to the success of this wonderful effort,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of the Foundation.
Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s Turkey Ride!
Montclair Community Farms (MCF) is a coalition of HOMECorp, Montclair Department of Health and Human Services, Montclair History Center, Montclair State University, and Rutgers Cooperative Extension: Essex County 4-H and Master Gardeners.
Community volunteers and Youth farmers tend their two farm sites along with a farm coordinator and farm director. MCF plants, grows, harvests and sells vegetables and produce at more affordable prices throughout the gardening season.
Watch the video below to see how this partnership is offering healthy, locally grown produce to the Montclair community!
Celebrate the Season featuring paintings by 20 student artists will be exhibited in the Upper Lobby of the Vance Wall Art Education Center at the Montclair Art Museum through January 7, 2018. The artists are local residents who participated in a watercolor and gouache class offered by the Montclair Institute for Lifelong Learning (MILL) through the Montclair Art Museum’s Creative Aging Initiative. The May 2017 class was taught by Karen DeLuca and Kristine Lombardi.
The MILL is part of Lifelong Montclair, the Township’s initiative that supports Montclair as an age-friendly community. Classes foster opportunities for lifelong learning and socialization for adults aged 55+.
The MILL is a collaborative effort of the Montclair Public Library and its Adult School of Montclair Department, the Montclair Art Museum, the Montclair History Center and Montclair State University. It is funded in part by Partners for Health Foundation and donations from the community.
Up to $100,000 will be distributed among 10 award winners in 2018
Partners for Health Foundation will celebrate our 10-Year Anniversary by recognizing people and organizations who are making extraordinary contributions to health and well-being in the 15 communities we serves. The Foundation is seeking nominations for Community Impact Awards that will select 10 awardees in 2018 and honor them by distributing up to $100,000 in total among their designated non-profit organizations.
The awards program is the centerpiece of a year-long anniversary celebration to begin next year. “Our goal is to celebrate this milestone in a way that’s aligned with the Foundation’s vision to make the communities we serve healthier, better places,” said Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health. “We anticipate that these awards will create a platform for telling the stories of those who have been working tirelessly for years, as well as unsung heroes and rising stars.”
Kevin Rendino, Foundation Board Chair, added, “The Partners for Health Community Impact Awards will allow us to herald those who improve the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors by meeting immediate health needs, as well as those who advocate for sustainable changes to policies, systems and environments.”
Partners for Health made its first grants, to six elementary schools, in June 2008. These “Team Health” grants totaling $40,000 encouraged healthy eating and increased opportunities for
children to be more active. Since then, the Foundation has made 324 grants to 110 organizations, totaling more than $10 million. The Foundation works to make progress in key areas such as addressing hunger and homelessness, making healthy choices easier through policy, system and environmental changes, connecting older residents to services and activities, strengthening the mental health safety net, and increasing access to oral health.
The Foundation welcomes nominations of individuals, organizations and institutions for the Community Impact Awards. Because the Foundation seeks to acknowledge contributions from all sectors of the community, nominees may come from non-profit and for-profit organizations as well as government and the media. Individual nominees may include, but are not limited to employees, trustees, volunteers, philanthropists, fundraisers, community advocates or activists, youth volunteers or journalists. Institutional nominees may include municipalities or municipal initiatives, small or large businesses, faith-based organizations, educational organizations or the media. Self-nominations will be accepted.
Partners for Health will select 10 Community Impact Award recipients in 2018 and will honor them by distributing up to $100,000 in total among the non-profit organizations they designate that meet the Foundation’s grant-making criteria. Nominations must be submitted by January 31, 2018.
Not-for-profit organizations located in, or providing direct service to the following communities are eligible for grants from the Partners for Health Foundation: Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Clifton, Essex Fells, Fairfield, Glen Ridge, Little Falls, Montclair, North Caldwell, Nutley, Roseland, Verona, West Caldwell and West Orange.
The Partners for Health Foundation Nursing Scholarship Fund has been established at Bloomfield College to support junior and senior nursing students. A total of $150,000 will be dispersed over five years beginning in the fall of 2017 to students who have demonstrated academic excellence and a commitment to successfully completing their education.
“In choosing to assist Bloomfield College nursing students, the Partners for Health Foundation is lifting a financial burden and helping future nurses from one of the best programs in the state achieve their dreams,” said Jackie Bartley, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
The Frances M. McLaughlin Division of Nursing at Bloomfield College boasts the second highest NCLEX passing rate in the state and was recently ranked the third best nursing program in New Jersey by RegisteredNursing.org. Nursing programs were assessed on several factors that represent how well a program supports students toward licensure and beyond including analyzing past and present NCLEX-RN pass-rates, weighted by year.
“As a member of the Bloomfield College Board of Trustees, I am ecstatic to learn the Partners for Health Foundation is providing funding toward our nursing students, which will help them reach their full potential,” said Jim Axelrod, Senior National Correspondent for CBS News. “I often refer to Bloomfield College as an ‘on ramp.’ The College is designed to make sure as many people can gain access to a college degree as possible. It’s not just economic security, but emotional security, which the Partners for the Health Foundation is helping us provide with this grant.”
Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health, said, “Scholarships recipients will be able to focus on their academics rather than on the economics of paying for college. We are proud to support their dream of becoming a nurse.”
More than 250 underserved adults and children in the Partners for Health Foundation service area received affordable, high quality dental care on the Zufall Delta Dental Mobile Van in its first year of service.
At the ribbon cutting ceremony to launch the dental van in August 2016, Eva Turbina, Zufall’s president and chief executive officer noted, “This dental van will allow Zufall to bring greatly needed services directly to our most vulnerable populations, especially to who otherwise cannot get to one of our six dental offices.”
Zufall’s Eva Turbiner, President and Chief Executive Officer, with Dr. Sam Wakim, Chief Dental Officer
A dental clinic-on-wheels had long been on Zufall’s wish list, according to Dr. Sam Wakim, chief dental officer at the nonprofit community health center. Having provided limited dental services on Zufall’s medical van for some time, he said a sustainable, efficient solution was needed to improve patients’ access and provide them with a permanent dental home. The dental van reduces barriers to care such as cost and transportation, improves the level of care and provides regular access to care.
The 39-foot, state-of-the-art mobile unit has two fully equipped operatories utilizing cutting-edge technology that accommodate comprehensive preventative and restorative dental services. At a cost of $350,000, it was funded by primary sponsor Delta Dental of New Jersey Foundation. Additional funding was provided by Partners for Health Foundation in Montclair.
Ribbon cutting on August 10, 2016
“Partners for Health has long recognized oral healthcare as an area where access to care is compromised,” said Pam Scott, executive director of Partners for Health Foundation. “In addition to a focus on children and seniors, the van provides clinical services to residents of public housing, homeless individuals and families, and veterans, and goes a long way in addressing the oral health needs of the communities we serve.”
Eva Turbiner, Zufall’s President and Chief Executive Officer, with Partners for Health Foundation’s Executive Director, Pam Scott, and Program Director, Kathy Smith
The van is manned by a general dentist and support staff and operates five days a week, spending one full day in the Montclair area and the rest of the week at sites throughout Zufall’s north and central New Jersey service area. While its primary focus is low-income children and seniors, it also serves populations including farmworkers, veterans, the homeless, public housing residents, and school children. Services are charged on an income-based sliding fee scale. NJ Family Care insurance plans and some Delta Dental plans are also accepted.
Organizations interested in information about scheduling a van visit to their site may contact Michelle Blanchfield, director of Outreach and Special Populations, at 973-328-9100, Ext. 323. Patients who want more information about eligibility and the van’s schedule may call dental van manager William Torres at 973-329-3344 or visit www.zufallhealth.org.
About Zufall Health
Zufall Health is a not-for-profit, state-licensed community health center that has been providing high-quality, affordable medical and dental treatment to the working poor, uninsured, and underserved for over 25 years. More than 30,000 patients are served at its headquarters site in Dover as well as medical and/or dental offices in Morristown, Hackettstown, Flemington, Somerville, West Orange, Newton, and on its Highlands Health Van. For more information, visit zufallhealth.org.
The Peace Model Project, a school-based mental health & wellness initiative, is a collaborative venture between The Bridge, Inc. and the Caldwell-West Caldwell School district. It is designed to fully integrate community mental health services in the district’s four elementary schools. The vision for the project was inspired in response to increased school violence across the nation and growing awareness that mental health intervention in the elementary years can promote emotional resilience and decrease mental health risk factors in adolescence and beyond. Launched in 2015 with funding from the US Department of Education, The Peace Model Project enters its third year of development in the 2017-18 academic year.
“The Caldwell – West Caldwell Schools have been working with The Bridge for over forty years. Our most recent collaboration on the Peace Model Project has been highly successful,” commented James Heinegg, superintendent of the Caldwell-West Caldwell School District. “It is helping our students become healthier individuals, better friends to one another, stronger learners, and more caring members of the community and the world at large. We are very grateful to the Partners for Health Foundation for this generous grant, which will allow us to continue the positive work of the Peace Model Project in the 2017-18 school year and beyond.”
The Bridge, Inc. employs and supports four full-time, credentialed mental health counselors in each elementary school who provide individual & group counseling; parent education; character and community-building curriculum; intervention and referral services.
“We are happy to work with the Caldwell-West Caldwell School district and Partners for Health to build a program that is a model of how community based mental health agencies can work with local schools to promote resiliency in children early in life,” announced Lou Schwarcz, CEO of The Bridge, Inc. “Through The Peace Model Project, we are teaching skills that will help children to achieve their aspirations and prevent future life problems, such as self-harm, harm to others, and substance abuse.”
Let’s Walk is a free walking program of guided and themed walks for those who are interested in developing a healthier lifestyle. The program offers walks at various locations throughout the week and is coordinated by the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition.
Regular walking has been identified by health experts and the US Surgeon General as one of the easiest, most accessible and safest ways to maintain health and combat diseases related to sedentary lifestyles. Benefits include boosting energy, reducing stress and risk factors for heart disease, lowering blood pressure and weight, and reducing risk for other preventable diseases related to sedentary lifestyles. The walks can easily be incorporated into busy schedules on a regular basis; some of the themed walks include Roaming Readers, Walk With A Leader, and walks to farmers markets.
During this grant 2016-20107 period, more than 1,600 registered walkers participated in 207 walks. Walks are currently held 6 days a week, with ones regularly scheduled in West Orange, Nutley, Bloomfield, Verona and Montclair.
Several regular walks are offered in conjunction with partners that include the Nutley Health Department, Montclair Public Library, Bloomfield Health Department, the Walk With A Doc organization- local chapter, and the YMCA of Montclair. One-time walk partners include Fleet Feet, Davis Integrated Medicine in Montclair’s South End and the NY-NJ Trail Conference.
Fourth Ward Councilwoman Renee Baskerville and the Township of Montclair are partnering with Hackensack Meridian Health Mountainside Medical Center, Partners for Health and City Green, to once again welcome the City Green Veggie Mobile – a mobile farm stand that brings fresh produce and other healthful foods to Montclair’s South End district.
The Veggie Mobile will be at the Garden State Community Bank parking lot, 323 Orange Road from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on the following days:
September 13 and 27
October 11 and 25
The mobile farm stand accepts SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cards, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children), SFMNP (Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program) vouchers and cash as payment. The Veggie Mobile also helps to stretch families’ dollars.
Through mid-August, more than $10,000 of locally grown fruits and vegetables have been provided in Montclair, Bloomfield, Clifton and Little Falls. City Green farm stands in these communities have served 170+ federal benefit customers (SNAP, WIC and Senior FMNP).
City Green also supports the Montclair Farmers’ Market (MFM) and the Nutley Farmers’ Market in providing Good Food Buck incentive dollars to SNAP, WIC, and Senior FMNP customers through the Garden State Good Food Network Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP). They anticipate serving nearly 650 federal benefit customers at the Montclair market by the end of the 2017 season.
Peter Coyl, Director of the Montclair Public Library, and Anne Mernin, Director of Toni’s Kitchen, talked to Steve Adubato on the Caucus: NJ program about the summer lunch program sponsored by Partners for Health.
Watch the video below to see how this partnership is offering free and healthy lunches in addition to reading and enrichment programs.
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.
As New Jersey continues to struggle with a poor economy marked by high rates of unemployment, foreclosures, and an increasing cost of living, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) remains a crucial lifeline for low-income families. By lifting families out of poverty and giving a boost to local economies, the EITC is a vital tax credit for the more than 600,000 working New Jerseyans who rely on it ‘to make ends meet.’ Unfortunately, many families are unaware that the EITC even exists, or that they are eligible for these tax credits. In other instances, they spend hundreds of dollars paying high cost tax preparers for services that are available for free at Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites.
In response to this need, Partners for Health Foundation partnered with New Jersey Citizen Action and United Way of Northern New Jersey for the second year in a row to provide free tax preparation services to make it easier for community members to take full advantage of tax credits that are due to them.
New Jersey Citizen Action Education Fund (NJCAEF) worked out of the Bloomfield Public Library and coordinated weekly tax preparation appointments. They provided free tax preparation services on designated days throughout the 2017 tax season and prepared returns for 226 individuals and families.
In total, $560,041 in refunds were made, with $148,648 in federal and NJ EITC!
United Way of Northern New Jersey engaged both a Community Outreach Coordinator and a Savings Specialist in suburban Essex County to increase awareness of and access to their Free Tax and Savings Program and to help low and moderate income local residents set savings goals and become savers. The Outreach Coordinator built on the work begun in 2016 to reach out to businesses and organizations in non-profit, healthcare, housing, government, child care, and faith communities. These outreach activities resulted in a 5% increase in returns completed at their Montclair location.
Of the 661 clients who received free tax preparation services through the United Way, 133 clients received EITC.
Combined, these programs resulted in refunds totaling $817,379, with $240,652 in federal and NJ EITC!
Partners for Health Foundation is grateful to bothNew Jersey Citizen Action and the United Way of Northern New Jersey for their efforts to secure more than $1.3 million in tax refunds to our community members through this EITC initiative during the past two years.
SIT is a pilot program which offers senior residents of Montclair reduced cost taxi vouchers for local travel. SIT is not a taxi service – residents can use SIT vouchers to pay for taxi services with participating companies.
SIT Vouchers can be used outside of Montclair.
Great savings – pay $15 for $30 in rides
Travel anytime 24 / 7
Door- to-door convenience
Taxi sharing permitted
Just call – no advanced booking required
Includes vicinity of Mountainside
Enjoy mobility freedom
Use for ANY purpose: medical appointments, grocery shopping, visiting friends and family, shopping
This pilot project, funded through Partners for Health Foundation, is being administered by the Montclair Department of Health & Human Services and Lifelong Montclair, with the support and assistance of the Township’s Senior Citizens Advisory Committee.