It felt pretty good when Liz and I cooked a meal for the Montclair MESH program last month, so I can only imagine how good Aaron Stagoff-Belfort feels. The 16 year old junior at the Montclair Kimberley Academy has organized many meals to date and has no plan to stop.

Montclair MESH is a community service organization that was help provide basic and essential services to our most vulnerable homeless and near-homeless neighbors. Aaron has been partnering with MESH to attempt to get restaurants and families in our community to cook an entree and a dessert for 30 homeless people people one night this summer. So far, Bistro 18 and Naunas, as well as the McDonald and Varisco-Levy families have agreed to cook meals. Their efforts will help to feed 120 homeless people in our community.  Aaron tells us he’s working with several other restaurants this summer who he hopes will cook for Montclair MESH.  His goal is to have help fed about 200 homeless people by the end of the summer.

“I really enjoy working on this project and I plan to continue with it throughout the upcoming year,” says Aaron.  “I chose the MESH project because I have always been saddened when I see homeless and hungry people on the streets.  As I child I would go to New York City and see people begging for food or money and wonder why they were in such dire straits and why no one was helping them.  I was very surprised to learn that while I am lucky enough to live in such a comfortable community as Montclair there are people in our own community who do not have enough to eat.”

He added, “I have never gone hungry in my life and while I am thankful for that I wanted to make sure other families could enjoy some of the same privileges I have been fortunate enough to receive.  I cannot wait to continue this project after the summer ends!”