Letter: Helping Toni’s Kitchen For Thanksgiving


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To the Editor:

I wanted to share with your readers about the local group called Verona Rocks and other Verona residents coming together this Thanksgiving to help Toni’s Kitchen in Montclair in a very special way.

Verona Rocks wanted to keep the important tradition of Thanksgiving alive along with the gift of giving, so they combined forces with others to accomplish that mission.

First, they teamed up with Home Depot in Totowa, which provided napkin holder kits to build and design. These napkin holders will certainly brighten up the dining room tables for the guests at Toni’s. We would love to give a shout out to Home Depot manager, Pete, who took the time to listen to how our young people wanted to help and he immediately got involved. A simple kind gesture can pay forward in a great way.

Next Verona Rocks members teamed up with a crew of 8th graders who wanted to jump right in to see how they could help make a difference; they were very excited to get started on building these napkin holders. The news spread fast in helping Toni’s Kitchen, and before we knew it we had HBW middle school groups the Dream Team & Kind Club, as well as girl scout troops, elementary kids, and high schoolers all assisting. These young kids and teenagers realized their work wasn’t feeling much like work at all, but instead they were enjoying spending time together in creating something pretty amazing. This young community coming together resulted in over 50 napkin holders and 75 dinner placemats.

The fun didn’t stop there; families decided it would be great to add some lovely “take home” dessert treats for the guests at Toni’s, so the baking commenced and we lost count of the amount of cookies that we donated! Families became more and more excited to lend a hand, so they had a cereal collection drive as well. Our kids continued to impress with over 45 cereal boxes for donation. Lastly, to complete any special Thanksgiving meal: the turkey. We like to give another shout-out to Lakeside Deli in assisting us with a turkey platter to feed Toni’s guests.

Anna Lilley created Verona Rocks back in 2016. Anna’s small community of friends have made such BIG impacts on many lives. We give thanks and our gratitude to all the families who have participated in over 100 different events throughout the last 6 years.Thanksgiving isn’t just a day, it’s a way we can live our lives every day. We feel blessed that Verona Rocks has brought that saying to life in the countless hours they have spent helping others.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dina Lilley
Verona resident, Verona Rocks member

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