RED BANK, NJ: On Monday evening special guests gathered with many of the Board Members, employees and volunteers of Lunch Break, located at 121 Drs James Parker Blvd. in Red Bank. Lunch Break, founded by a small group of caring individuals in 1983, as a resource to nourish the hungry in our community, is today one of Monmouth County's most important social service agencies.
The evening's visit began with a tour of the facility, followed by a relaxing dinner prepared and served by longtime Lunch Break volunteer and owner of Beach Tavern Restaurant in Monmouth Beach, George Chrysanthopoulos. Guests were commenting on how delicious the food was and pleasant conversations and introductions were made. While dining guests received an overview of Lunch Break from John Klein, the president of Lunch Break's Board of Trustees and from the Executive Director, Gwendolyn O. Love. The positive impact that Lunch Break has on the daily lives of so many in need in our community is truly remarkable. We all go through our busy days, our kitchen pantries and refrigerators full, grocery shopping sometimes twice a week, eating out often... Most of us honestly do not know what it's like to be hungry. We don't know what it is like, most of us anyway, to struggle to feed our children.
The need for nourishment in our community is profound. Take note of these staggering numbers: Today, Lunch Break serves over 72,000 hot and nutritious free meals a year, Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, a hot breakfast is served and bagged lunches prepared by Saint Leo the Great Parish in Lincroft, are distributed. The love doesn't stop there though; meals are also delivered to homebound individuals 6 days a week, including holidays. Every week 50 hot meals are served to a homeless community in Howell, NJ. Over 100 hot meals a week are delivered to displaced individuals in the Pan American Motel. The Lunch Break pantry via their 'Client Choice Pantry' where clients can shop for free in a room made similar to a small market. Clients can choose from items such as fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, fresh breads, healthy snacks, etc. Watch video below of Lunch Break Board Member Rick Brandt in the Client Choice Pantry:
There is so much more that Lunch Break offers; Once a month Lunch Break hosts a Dinner and Movie night for the Boys and Girls Club. In 2017, the Mobile Community Gardener's Market delivered produce to over 1000 seniors. The Summer School Lunch Program provided over 1,500 nutritious meals and snacks to local children. Lunch Break doesn't stop with nourishing the body. They have programs to provide clothing including Clara's Closet and Suit Up, where those in need of clothing can shop and choose from a selection of new or gently used clothing and accessories. Lunch Break has a program for assistance with school supplies, toys for the holidays, etc.
The goal of Lunch Break is to 'lead those we serve to self sufficiency.' To that end, Lunch Break provides a menu of opportunities in their Life Skills Programs to guide their clients to gain skills to achieve economic stability. Among many services, the Life Skills Programs include computer training, resume writing, legal referrals, GED preparation referrals, financial counseling, and so much more including mentoring programs for youth clients. Lunch Break is a refuge for those that are lonely and are perhaps socially isolated. One Lunch Break client Joseph commented, "Lunch Break is a great place and food is great. I come here not just for the food, but to talk to people. It's nice. I don't have to eat alone..." Twelve year old Lamayia, whose family regularly visits Lunch Break said, "The food is good and hot. I get to meet new people and make new friends at Lunch Break. Everyday the food is different so it's like a surprise." Lunch Break always has a seat at the table and a hot meal waiting. Serving everyone with compassion and dignity, the Lunch Break vision is: "We strive to break the cycle of poverty for those we serve, and to guide our community members in need to self sufficiency and healthier, more productive lifestyles." The evening concluded with mention of Lunch Break's 2018 Fall Gala celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Lunch Break. The Gala will be held October 26, 6:30-11pm at the Battleground Country Club. For more information on the Gala, ways to volunteer or donate to Lunch Break you can visit here. You can call Lunch Break at 732.747.8577 ext. 3107 You may also email here.