On Tuesday evening, 4/7/20, Shomrei’s MESH Cafe funded 40 takeaway meals from Villa Victoria Restaurant on Park St in Montclair. MESH Guests line up one by one in compliance with social distancing and are given a salad, 2 slices of pizza with protein and a beverage.
According to MESH Executive Director, Dr. Gwen Ames, our guests love this meal. If less than 40 guests show up, MESH staff distribute the remainder of the meals at the Bay Street train station where homeless often congregate. Mr Joe Tyson, MESH security personnel, told me that MESH is distributing masks to help the guests protect themselves from exposure to the virus.
Next week following the conclusion of Passover, Shomrei will fund meals on Friday, 4/17/20 and then every Tuesday through the end of June. Owing to the generosity of a number of Shomrei congregants, we will be able to purchase meals weekly while maintaining strict social distancing. We look forward to the time when we can resume preparing nutritious, hearty home cooked meals at Shomrei for our MESH guests.
Message from MESH Co-Chairs, Lynne & Aileen:
Shomrei guidelines for MESH takeaway meals.
Thank you for volunteering to prepare the takeaway meals for the Carol Starr MESH Cafe during this health crisis.
We are determined to continue to feed our food insecure guests until we are told we cannot for reasons of safety.
Here are basic guidelines for what should go into a meal bag. We want to be relatively consistent no matter who is preparing just as we are when times are normal.
At Shomrei we have packets of condiments, some water bottles, prepackaged desserts (like cookies), bags, small containers for dressings or sauces.etc. Let us know if you need these items and we will give them to you as long as we are allowed in the building.
One of the most important things to remember is that the food should be nutritious, easy to eat, and not require real cutting as many of the guests may have no place to sit down.
Each of the 30 meals should consist of
- a bag, 2 napkins, appropriate cutlery
- a protein which can be a sandwich or other easy to eat food, depending upon how ambitious you are. If a sandwich, garnish it appropriately: lettuce, tomato, pickle, etc. We have packets of salt, pepper. mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise at Shomrei.
- a salad or vegetable , for example, coleslaw, tossed salad, crudités
- a beverage such as water
- a dessert such as cookies
- fruit that is easy to eat.
Please provide 3 vegetarian option meals if possible as we usually have some true vegetarians.
You may do a starter if you wish, but it is not necessary. We are streaming the meal to make it easier to prepare.
Depending on the meal you prepare, you may want to add a small bag of chips or some other snack.
You might want to include a nutrition bar, but it is not necessary. Some of our cooks send guests home with one so that they have a snack or even breakfast the next day.
Please contact Lynne or Aileen if you have any questions.
And again THANK YOU for stepping up in these unsettled times.
Lynne Kurzweil and Aileen Grossberg
The Carol Starr MESH Cafe at Shomrei (Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless) is a cooperative effort between the MESH organization and local synagogues and churches. Volunteers at each institution cook and serve hearty, nutritious meals for the hungry. Shomrei’s turn is on Tuesday nights. A good meal, and perhaps as important, social interaction and companionship offer respite to those who need it. Please help fulfill this crucial mitzvah by volunteering.
To sign up to help, go to shomrei.org/mesh.
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