MESH Report Mar 17, 2020

cid_E8E46C06-0557-4EFA-94F6-826112E87DDCYesterday Aileen and I met at Shomrei and, while standing six feet apart, we prepared takeaway meals for our MESH guests. The meal consisted of a hearty homemade tuna salad sandwich on a hard roll with sliced tomato and shredded lettuce. Semi-homemade cole slaw, a pickle and fresh fruit salad. Courtesy of leftover Purim goodies, we included chips, hamantaschen, a water bottle and a nutrition bar. We prepared 30 bags that MESH staffers, Joe and Ref, passed out to the 20 guests who showed up. Joe told us that he and Ref would then travel to the usual hangouts where the homeless go and distribute the remainder of the meals.

MESH Update:
1. Our current plan is to provide thirty takeaway meals each Tuesday.

2. Dr Ames, the Executive Director of MESH, is seeking one central location in Montclair where the meals could be distributed, making it easier for the guests since they’re doing a grab and go. This is also preferable for each MESH partner so each building wouldn’t require staffing.

3. We’ve had a generous response to our quest for donations.  Many thanks to all who have contributed and those who will do so going forward.  These funds will be reserved for weeks when we aren’t able to prepare meals and we need to cater.

4. Several volunteers have asked how they can help.   In order to comply with social isolation it is preferable that we don’t prepare food together in the Shomrei kitchen.  Since the meals will not be inside our building they do not have to be kosher.  Some people have offered to do the prep in their own kitchens. This is a wonderful idea!  Aileen has put together a Shomrei Guidelines for MESH takeaway meals.  It is attached below.  It’s possible that 2-3 volunteers might sign up for one week and each one prepare 10 or 15 meals each.  Or if one person will take on the entire task, that works too.  If you are interested please let Aileen (email hidden; JavaScript is required) and/or me (email hidden; JavaScript is required) know and we will help you get started.

We’re so fortunate that even in this very difficult time Shomrei can continue to come together to assist those in our greater community who are food insecure.

Healthy regards,


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

Email email hidden; JavaScript is required or call (973)746-0816
Email email hidden; JavaScript is required or call (973) 744-3836



About MESH:

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

Have questions?

Email email hidden; JavaScript is required or call (973)746-0816
Email email hidden; JavaScript is required or call (973) 744-3836


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Lynne Kurzweil

Lynne Kurzweil

Lynne is a long-time Shomrei Congregant.She is co-chair of Shomrei's MESH Cafe (Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless) which provides a hot dinner and respite for homeless individuals every Tuesday night. She is a registered dietitian and lives in Montclair with her husband, Lanny.
Lynne Kurzweil

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