It was a balmy evening with a hint of showers as a full contingent of guests dined at the Carol Starr MESH Cafe at Shomrei.
The night’s meal was preceded, however, by earnest discussion as to how best to be welcoming to our guests and, at the same time, keep Shomrei safe in the growing health crisis. After some input from the MESH administration, we at Shomrei decided to be proactive and as of next week will be serving only takeaway meals to our MESH guests.
We feel strongly that we wanted to keep supporting the MESH program but must do it in a way that does not impinge on the safety of our building.
This evening we ramped up our hygiene, insisting that all our guests sanitize their hands upon entering the building and then washing them with soap and water before sitting down at the tables. We added tables so that people would not be squeezed together and served all the food directly from the kitchen. Our guests appreciated the efforts to keep everyone safe and thanked us for taking care of them.
Chef Lynne Kurzweil put together a delicious and well appreciated menu of hummus, grape tomatoes and chips; tossed green salad (thank you Purim spiel); salmon with lemon, garlic, and fresh rosemary; roasted baby carrots and broccoli; rice enhanced with spinach, peppers, dill and rosemary; rolls and fresh fruit accompanied by hamentaschen for desert.
Everyone got a generous serving and even a little extra. Shomrei is known for its fish meals and many of our guests look forward to having salmon in any number of ways that we at Shomrei prepare it. Even the vegetarians don’t complain because they know that we will serve them an alternate protein.
Lynne was assisted by Jonah and captain Aileen Grossberg in the kitchen. Hailey and Nell ran back and forth between the kitchen and the dining area. Susan Rosenblatt was helpful as usual especially in washing the dishes.
Joe managed the downstairs security aspect of the evening made a little more complicated by the sanitizing upon entering the building and Wes ran the dining room.
We could have used a few more hands this evening . We went home tired but satisfied with many thanks from our guests ringing in our ears after another successful evening at the MESH Cafe.
Dear MESH Volunteers:
In light of the current pandemic, until further notice, the Carol Starr MESH Cafe at Shomrei, along with the other MESH cafes in Montclair, will no longer host MESH guests inside our building. We will be preparing and distributing take away meals outside our door beginning next Tuesday, 3/17/20. As soon as we figure out the logistics and what our volunteer needs are, we will inform the Shomrei community. Your continued support is much appreciated.
Lynne and Aileen
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.