The Office Beer Bar & Grille at 619 Bloomfield Avenue has been closed since 2019. From the outside, the premises look like another vacant space along Bloomfield Avenue, but inside, a familiar community organization operates daily, growing their mission.

The Office closed in 2019. Photo: Ava Agostinelli.

Montclair Emergency Services for Hope, known as MESH, is a local non-profit organization dedicated to providing basic and essential services to Montclair’s unhoused and food insecure community. Just in the past year, Monday to Saturday from 4:30 to 6:30pm, MESH began providing their daily dinner service as well as a shop for clothing and hygiene products inside the former Office restaurant.

MESH Clothing Shop at the former Office restaurant. Photo: Annette Batson.

In January 2022, when Albie Monterosa began his tenure as MESH’s board president, he realized guests were often confused by the frequently changing location of daily meal service. Prior to 2022, MESH operated out of partner locations that included local houses of worship. As MESH began to grow, Monterosa aimed to address this issue in order to best serve everyone in need.

“Now that we’re in one location, we’re realizing we’re able to serve a lot more people. People recognize where we are every day and they know at 4:30, we open doors, we start serving coffee, and at 5:15 they receive a meal, followed by dessert. The consistency really allowed us to serve more people,” Monterosa says.

The space was given rent free to MESH as a donation from the owner of the former Office after being introduced to Monterosa by town officials.

“It’s a donation on his end to the town of Montclair. Really, the community, the people of Montclair,” Monterosa says. MESH is entirely funded by donors from Montclair and surrounding communities.

The space at The Office not only hosts daily meal service, but also movie nights, bingo, and holiday celebrations. On May 11, MESH held a Mother’s Day celebration with a local makeup and hair stylist and live music. On the same day, MESH officially launched laundry services with newly installed machines. The Office also houses the MESH Shop, where guests can receive brand new, unused clothing donated by community members.

MESH volunteers preparing for meal service. Photo: Annette Batson.

“For us, it’s really elevating the approach of serving our community, not just by feeding them, but by welcoming them with open arms, embracing them and having them feel that they can stay and enjoy some music, bingo or a movie. These things are really important to us,” Monterosa says.

MESH began their journey handing out meals on street corners, reaching only around 20 guests per day. Today, they serve around 50 guests per day and continue to grow.

“I’m sure if you talk to me in the next month or two, that number’s gonna grow,” said Monterosa. “Most importantly is that we get people to help us, because we don’t do this alone. We really do this with the help of the community.”

The food is provided by various donors and local restaurants. MESH aims to provide meals that are familiar and comforting. Past offerings have ranged from Bareburger, Chick fil-A, and meals prepared by cooks at various houses of worship.

“What we would need are good meals, healthy meals, but also tasty and familiar meals. You know, chicken parm sandwiches, cold cut sandwiches – that kind of stuff goes a long way,” says Monterosa.

Having a regular space at The Office has helped MESH better serve the community. Photo: Ava Agostinelli.

MESH has a schedule of partners for daily meal service from September to June. In July and August, they shift to a summer schedule, which is often harder to completely fill with donors. MESH is in need of donors and partners to cook daily mail service by the end of June.

“We need about 45 to 50 meals per day. People can sign up to do it once a week, twice a month, once a month – if they like,” says Monterosa. Interested volunteers can get involved by contacting Monterosa via email at

“Everybody is a part of this and feels good because they know their donations go right to our guests.”

Ava Agostinelli is a sophomore at American University.