Toni’s Kitchen is a place of joy, support, and strength for the community. Though people gather for meals, like any family around a dinner table, Toni’s Kitchen has become a gathering place for people to get what they need, not just food. In addition to friendships, guests are connected to social services, mental health support, medical resources, and so much more…..
For two years, Anna was a guest of Toni’s Kitchen. When she first appeared, she was skittish and unsettled. In her late 50s, Anna had a difficult time adjusting to being in a soup kitchen and her recent homelessness. Other guests of Toni’s Kitchen, who showed Anna the ropes and helped her to settle into the community, warmly welcomed her. She slowly made friends and learned to navigate. Anna attended memoir workshops on Saturdays where she found her voice and her impish humor emerged. She also connected with on-site mental health services. Missing identification, they took her to Newark to get her Social Security card and SSI benefits addressed. The counseling and hard work continued. One day, Anna whispered a secret – she was moving into housing. Shhh-h-hh, she said, I don’t want to tell anyone until it’s real. Anna’s case manager successfully placed Anne into supportive housing early last winter. There, her medication needs are checked regularly. Anna visited us regularly for several weeks after moving into housing. Then, her visits became less frequent. It’s been several months now since we’ve seen our friend. We miss her but we are delighted that this difficult moment in her life passed and she has found her independence again. She remains in our prayers and we thankful for Anna’s time with us.