Jana Joyce, of Montclair, has been volunteering at Toni’s Kitchen, located at the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on South Fullerton Avenue, for the last four years along with her daughter, Maya.

Joyce is the Friday lead chef at Toni's Kitchen; on Mondays, she helps plan out the meals for the week with the rest of the volunteer lead chefs. Although Joyce was very busy helping the other dozen volunteers prepare the food in the kitchen she took a few moments to reflect on her work with Montclair Local this week.

In this series, we highlight a hometown person who has given freely of their time and effort to help people, animals or the environment. To suggest a person or an organization for this series, email and

Jana Joyce
Jana Joyce

Why do you volunteer?
I love the sense of community. I feel it and everyone else feels it when they get in line at 11:30 a.m., in the kitchen and the dining room. This is the way the world should be; people helping people.

What are you doing when you are not volunteering?
I have a jam business where I make jams and infused honey. I am also a personal chef and take care of my twin 16-year-old children.

How do you feel at the end of a day of volunteering?
At the end of the day, completely exhausted. I feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment. It feels really good to feed people and make people happy. The people who come here are so grateful. When people come here we treat them with dignity and respect. They get kindness and warmth in a life in which they may have a little bit of chaos in.

Do you ever miss a day or week?
If I miss a Friday I feel I miss being here, you see some of the  same people every time.

Do you interact with the other volunteers?
The volunteers all socialize outside of the kitchen as well. You don’t always find that when you volunteer. It’s really a  sense of community.

What are some of the meals you help prepare at Toni’s Kitchen?
We make everything homemade, including the salad dressings. An example of a meal would be  an appetizer such as  baba ganoush and chips, roasted vegetable bisque, baked chicken, pesto pasta, dill-roasted carrots  and for dessert yogurt fruit and granola parfaits.

How does your family feel about you donating your time?
My kids are proud of me. They are both active in the community, and sing at Toni’s with their a cappella group “The Passing Notes.”

Organizations to help those in need

Toni’s Kitchen
St Luke’s Episcopal Church
73 South Fullerton Ave., Montclair
Website: or
Contact:  973 932-0768 or email
Meal Schedule:
Lunch Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 11:30 a.m.
Sunday dinner at 5 p.m.

Human Needs Food Pantry
9 Label St., Montclair
Contact: 973-746-4669  or email
Donation Drop offs: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon
Client pick-up noon to 2:30 p.m. and Thursday nights from 5:30-6:30.

Montclair Emergency Services for the Homeless
See website for calendar. Dinner is served at 7:15 p.m. every day but Sundays.
Each year The MESH Café closes for vacation on the fourth Monday of August and re-opens on the second Monday in September.
MESH, Inc. P.O. Box 1919, Montclair, NJ 07042-1919
Telephone: 862-621-9488