RED BANK, NJ: Hunger doesn’t social distance. For too many families in our area, empty dinner plates are a frightening reality as the COVID-19 pandemic reaches ever deeper into our economy.

Since March, Lunch Break, the Red Bank-based food pantry and social services organization, has seen steady increases in the number of people needing direct help to put food on the table.  “COVID-19 has challenged us in many ways. We suddenly must find many additional pounds of food because more and more families need our help,” said Millie Jeter, Director of Administration at Lunch Break. “And… we’ve had to do it all while keeping our staff, volunteers, and recipients as safe as possible.”

The organization’s innovative solution was to institute Drive-By Food Stock Up stations in local retail areas, school parking lots, and municipal complexes. Anyone wishing to donate simply drives up to the collection point and releases their car’s trunk or hatch door.

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Lunch Break volunteers wearing masks remove the items and take the donor’s information if a receipt is needed.

Lunch Break’s next drive-by locations in the People Feeding People program will be at The Grove at Shrewsbury on June 16th from 10 am to 2 pm in the Frutta Bowls parking field, followed by Brook 35 Plaza in Sea Girt on June 17th from 10 am to 2 pm, in the GAP parking field.

“We’re doing this because we believe in outreach and engagement with our local communities,” said Chris Cole of Metrovation, the managing entity of The Grove at Shrewsbury and Brook 35 Plaza. “It’s clear that people are struggling in this crisis and we are proud to partner with Lunch Break to bring urgency to the issue and some relief to our neighbors.”

The first 15 to drop off donations to The Grove location will enjoy a $10 gift card to Frutta Bowls, compliments of The Grove at Shrewsbury. Likewise, at the Sea Girt drive, the first 15 to donate will receive a $10 gift card to Playa Bowls courtesy of Brook 35 Plaza.

Lunch Break is a 501(c)3 organization located in Red Bank, NJ, providing food, clothing, life skills, and fellowship to residents of greater Monmouth County. In May, Lunch Break distributed 8,286 meals, about 45 percent more than May 2019.  Deliveries to the homebound community and Pan American motel are up from last year 100 percent and 75 percent respectively. Additionally, 2,320 people received groceries last month, about 10 percent more day to day than April.

All Lunch Break services are free.

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