Montclair Public Library Foundation is thrilled to be awarded a grant from Partners for Health Foundation to continue a summer feeding program for Montclair’s youth. The Summer Learning and Lunch Program is the result of an incredible collaboration among Montclair Public Library, Partners for Health Foundation and Toni’s Kitchen.

Going into its third year, this program is meeting a real need in the Montclair community as evidenced by the 2,867 lunches served last summer. Six out of 10 public schools in Montclair are designated as Title 1 schools, indicating a high percentage of children are from low-income families. For the 2018-19 school year, 1,064 students – 16% of the Montclair district – qualified for reduced-fee or free lunch. But during the summer when school is not in session, many of those children have no alternate source for lunch. Thus there is a clear and urgent need to provide a nutritious lunch in a non-stigmatizing community-accepted environment.

Toni’s Kitchen will provide a healthy brown bag lunch which will include a sandwich, fruit, and a dessert. Lunches will be served Monday through Friday from July 1-August 30. No applications are necessary to drop in and all children and teens are welcome. Along with lunch, reading and educational enrichment activities will also be offered.

”Montclair’s Library is going far beyond its historic role as merely a place to house books” stated Library Director Peter Coyl. “We embrace our responsibility to meet a broad array of community needs, especially for those most vulnerable.”

Libraries are abuzz with children all year round, but especially as they fill the gap for schools to provide summertime learning through popular reading programs. The lunch, along with positive enrichment activities, will help ensure kids return to school healthy and ready to learn.