One of the big reasons that Toni’s Kitchen is able to fulfill our mission is by working with key partners in the community. One of our most important partners is the Partners for Health Foundation. Partners for Health focuses on making the 15 Essex and Passaic County communities they serve healthier, better places to live.
Pam Scott, Executive Director of Partners for Health, says the Foundation began to focus on the issue of hunger in our area in 2009. At that time, they convened local soup kitchens, food pantries and social service agencies to assess the need. Toni’s Kitchen, she says, “has been at the table from the beginning.”
Through the years, Partners for Health Foundation has made grants totaling more than $265,000 to Toni’s Kitchen for a variety of projects. This includes $100,000 donated by community members on behalf of Toni’s through the Foundation’s end-of-year matching gifts program. Partners for Health also funded Toni’s major kitchen renovation in 2014, and grants to purchase fresh produce for our meals.
Partners for Health doesn’t always distribute aid directly; they often collaborate with community partners to provide assistance and implement strategies to work toward common goals. “(Toni’s Kitchen) has been an active participant in helping us understand the issue of hunger, and formulate strategies that make sense for us as a funder to implement in order to make a difference,” according to Ms. Scott. “Toni’s leadership has been integral to the success of our partnership.”
Ms. Scott adds that she especially admires how Toni’s Kitchen treats our guests. “You are so respectful of your clients and give them opportunities to access help in ways that aren’t stigmatizing.”
At Toni’s Kitchen, we are so proud to work with Partners for Health and we thank their staff and Board for their incredible support over the years.
For more information about Partners for Health Foundation and the work that they do in our area, visit their website at partnersfdn.org.
Partners for Health also has a matching program for community groups that organize healthy foods drives. When a group sponsors a healthy food drive to benefit Toni’s Kitchen, the Foundation will make an additional $500 donation to Toni’s Kitchen. For more information about this matching program, visit http://partnersfdn.org/hungertoolkit/.