By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Just a half a mile from the railroad track, you can get anything you want at Lunch Break.
Food, a football game, a smile.
On Thanksgiving, it was all of the above at Red Bank’s charitable mainstay.
“It’s been a beautiful day,” said Gwendolyn Love, executive director of Lunch Break.
It started off with an unexpected bang. Scheduled to start serving at 11:30a, Love had to open the doors a half-hour early because there was a line waiting to get in, she said.
Among those waiting: Roy Wilson, who goes to Lunch Break every day. On a day to reflect, Wilson sang the praises of the non-profit.
“Every day is special with Lunch Break because they help people,” he said. “It’s a blessing from God that we have them. I’m thankful for having them, and Miss Gwen and the staff here. They help me out and they help the community.”
As Wilson put down turkey and stuffing, volunteers, including councilwomen Juanita Lewis and Kathy Horgan, mingled with guests and passed out plates to incoming visitors.
Volunteers, by the way, are not hard to come by. In September, Lunch Break had to start declining offers of Thanksgiving Day help, Love said.
“They call us. We don’t get them, they get us,” she said. “We’re very blessed.”
It was the first year volunteering for the Mussleman family, of Tinton Falls. Gabrielle Mussleman had done some work at Lunch Break over the summer, felt good about it, and it was decided by her aunt that the family would help out on Thanksgiving.
On Thursday, they bagged food for the more than 120 people who would get dinner delivered to their homes and helped serve more than 125 who came to sit down and eat. It was Gabrielle; her aunt; her father, John; her mother, Daria; and brother, Kevin.
A five-part harmony.