RED BANK: LUNCH BREAK GETS $1 MILLION

lunch break 092914The donation will ensure completion of a major expansion of the soup kitchen now underway, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

just_in1Red Bank’s Lunch Break soup kitchen has landed a $1 million donation from a philanthropist who asked not to be publicly identified, the organization announced Monday.

The donation, already in the bank, pushed Lunch Break to 80 percent of its $5 million capital campaign to pay for a sizable expansion of its facility on Drs. James Parker Boulevard.

gwen love 092914Lunch Break executive director Gwen Love and her construction team reviewing building plans Monday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

“It’s a great thing to know that when you set our for a goal, that it can be accomplished,” executive director Gwen Love told redbankgreen before meeting with Lunch Break architect and contractors about the progress of the expansion.

“It’s also great to know there are some wonderfully generous people who really, really believe in what we’re doing,” she said.

Love said the donor made the commitment about six or eight weeks ago, and that the donation came about as a result of outreach by Kate McMahon, director of development, to the organization’s past supporters.

Love described the donor only as a “long-term supporter.”

Lunch Break, which has seen increasing demand in recent years for its free meals, bagged groceries, clothing and social services assistance, is in the midst of erecting a new, three-story building attached to its existing facility on the site of two houses donated by a Rumson couple in 2011.

In prepared statement, Lunch Break board president Mark Brahney said the latest donation ensures completion of that project, as well as “Phase 2, the upgrade of the existing facility, which will almost double the seating capacity in our dining room and includes a new, more efficient kitchen.

“But,” Brahney said, “there is still much more to do. While we have now achieved 80 percent of our $5 million campaign goal, funding is still needed for Phase 3, which includes the purchase of an additional property and a capital reserve/endowment fund, which will sustain our organization for years to come.”

Love said the organization needs to acquire an additional property for storage of donated food, clothing and toys.