Home Essex County Toni’s Kitchen: Giving Back to the Montclair Community One Meal at a Time

Toni’s Kitchen: Giving Back to the Montclair Community One Meal at a Time

by Gabriela Lachapel O'Brien
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In Montclair, there are several ways to help out the local community. Whether it is through volunteering, or donating, Toni’s Kitchen is one of those organizations that help out those in need. It happens to be a food ministry at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church right here in Montclair. Neighbors volunteer and give their time to help out residents in need of food items. Read on to learn more about the mission of Toni’s Kitchen and how you can help.

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About Toni’s Kitchen

Toni’s Kitchen was founded in 1982 by a group of parishioners from St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, whose simple mission was to “serve our neighbors in need.”

The Ivy at Chatham

They borrowed an idea from a nearby soup kitchen in which all guests in search of a hot meal would be served restaurant-style in lieu of the more traditional buffet lines seen elsewhere. To head the kitchen, the group tapped Antoinette “Toni” Green, who was often described as a “spirit-filled and amazing” woman.


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Read More: Organizations + Non-Profits to Give Back to in Montclair

As the organization’s footprint in Montclair continued to grow, so did the services Toni’s Kitchen offered. In addition to providing healthy meals to those in need, they adopted a community partner model to align with other organizations and provide access to resources that encourage and empower people to live with independence, respect, and dignity. This meant offering financial counseling, mental health support, access to medical professionals, and more.


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As a side project, Toni’s Kitchen launched Montclair Bounce. Backed by research that proves everyday creative, physical, and social interactions can build resilience, the group holds events for teens and adults that do just that. There is ‘Journaling for Middle Schoolers,’ conversations for adults about stress management and parenting tips, book reviews, and classes for meal prepping for your family. Montclair Bounce also held a festival in May 2019, which spanned over eight days and together with over 100 partners, sponsored over 75 events.

In 2020, the family grew even larger with the opening of Toni’s Community Closet in Bloomfield.

With donations of gently used clothing, toys, and home items, the homeless, near-homeless, and low-income communities are able to shop for the items needed to ensure they can be met without judgment.

How Operations Changed in the Face of COVID-19

Prior to COVID-19, there were many different programs and avenues through which Toni’s Kitchen would ensure access to a healthy meal for those who needed it. To adapt to all the quarantine guidelines while still reaching all those in need and keeping volunteers safe, they pivoted its hot meal service to takeout only, shopped for groceries available for pickup and limited delivery, and delivered a combination of frozen meals and small groceries to senior citizens unable to leave their residences.

Most recently, Toni’s Kitchen partnered with Montclair Community Farms and the YMCA of Montclair to teach families how to cook nutritious meals together. Montclair Community Farms will put together a basket of ingredients along with a recipe for families to “shop” from. The baskets are available to pick up for free from Toni’s Kitchen food truck and Montclair Community Farms Mobile Stand outside the YMCA.

See More: Jersey City Non-Profit Highlight: The York Street Project

How You Can Help


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Toni’s Kitchen is always looking for high school-aged kids and adults to volunteer whether it’s to cook and pack meals, pick up and deliver groceries, or work an event. Apply here to become a volunteer.

To support Toni’s Kitchen with a financial donation, you can do so online here or mail a check to:

Toni’s Kitchen, St. Luke’s Church — 73 S. Fullerton Avenue Montclair, NJ 07042

For all food donations, please visit the list of items needed here, and drop off the items at the church Monday through Friday from 9AM to 1PM, Saturday from 9:30AM to 12PM, or Sunday from 3PM to 5PM

Every few weeks, Toni’s Kitchen also hosts a town-wide food drive. Find out what items are in need here.

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