Postponing the 6th Annual Backyarder Jam to Sunday turned out to be a fantastic decision for Parents Who Rock—the day was perfect, and everyone had a great time jamming, eating, and partying to benefit Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless (MESH).

Attendees enjoyed the music, which included everything from Bob Dylan to the Indigo Girls to Jack Johnson songs from the soundtrack Curious George. Dozens of children lined up to have their faces painted by the talented (and very patient) Carina of Carilu’s Kids Party Entertainment. Frankenstein and Unicorn faces were especially popular. The face painting was provided by Aunt Jean’s Toys and Treats, now on Church Street.  Nick’s Shaved Iced provided treats (and blue and orange-stained teeth), with a portion of proceeds going to benefit MESH as well. A Stella & Dot sale was on-going, and an outdoor yoga class was planned as well.

Local businesses in music and dance contributed to a silent auction to raise money for MESH through Parents Who Rock, as well.  The Montclair Academy of Dance & Laboratory of Music donated a set of six dance or drumming classes for their fall semester, while the Modern Music Academy gave a $75 gift certificate towards classes. School of Rock donated one month of classes, Little Rockers gave a set of classes, and the newly re-named The Art Garage donated as well. The arts in Montclair are truly a generous bunch!

During a break in the music, Dr. Gwen Parker Ames, the executive director for MESH, spoke about how the organization provides many needed services that go beyond meals. One of the most poignant is the service of provided safe and readily available water both for drinking and for showering. In addition, MESH helps homeless clients to regain a positive outlook with access to laundry cards, regular evening meals, and overnight respite from extremely cold weather.

Families brought picnics and enjoyed the great weather and community for the afternoon. Several people commented that afternoons like this Parents Who Rock Backyarder Jam are “what Montclair is all about.” And we think it’s also important to acknowledge that events like this don’t happen on their own. Wonderful groups like Parents Who Rock, and amazing residents like Alma Schneider – one of the main organizers of this event – are also what Montclair is all about.

If you missed the Parents Who Rock event but still want to support MESH, there are many ways to contribute. You can make a meal yourself, volunteer your time, and of course monetary donations are always welcome to help fill in the needs.

Additional photos by mega-talented Andrew Cohen