(Press release from Soup Kitchen 411)

It wasn’t the first time they’ve collaborated to feed community members, but on the mild April Monday morning, the smell of delicious meals was almost unparalleled. The vegetarian sandwiches featured roasted red pepper hummus with lettuce tomatoes and cabbage, while the meat sandwiches had just about any and every type of meat carnivores crave—ham with mustard aioli, monterey jack cheese, mixed greens, tomatoes; turkey/pastrami with creamy horseradish, monterey cheese, lettuce tomatoes; grilled chicken with roasted red peppers, basil aioli and arugula, all in hearty ciabatta bread.

Soup Kitchen 411 purchased the meals from Red Bank-based No Limits Cafe, a mission-driven restaurant that employs adults with special needs. Chef Kali and their team also prepared salads for Lunch Break‘s clients to enjoy.

“COVID-19 has presented unique challenges to our entire team, and having an assist we can count on from Soup Kitchen 411 always helps. Our team is focused on helping people with job training/life skills, housing and immigration applications, and so much more, so attempting to serve some 90,000 hot, nutritious meals a year would have been impossible if not for Soup Kitchen 411,” said Lunch Break Director of Operations Kevin McGee. “That many of the meals they buy for us come from beloved local restaurants like No Limits Cafe is just a huge bonus to the work they do.”

Last year, Lunch Break bore the Herculean load of serving 90,000 meals to housed and unhoused area residents. Soup Kitchen 411 purchased over 400,000 restaurant-prepared meals last year, including several thousand from No Limits Cafe, many of which were served at Lunch Break.

“For us, it’s been a win-win-win because with Soup Kitchen 411’s meal orders, not only can we feed people, but allow our employees with intellectual disabilities to be on the giving end of charity, instead of just the receiving end of charity,” said No Limits Cafe Co-Founder Stephanie Cartier. “Our staff is who is going to change the world, so they love to be out there greeting people and helping out.”

Outside of Soup Kitchen 411’s work, No Limits Cafe was selected live on the Tamron Hall show in December 2020 to receive $30,000 to bring meals to soup kitchens to serve meals at, with a focus on seniors.

“The people at Lunch Break provide a crucial service to our community here in Red Bank. Soup Kitchen 411’s meals and investment in local restaurants like No Limits Cafe enriches our community and I’m glad to be able to share in the joy at these joint events,” said Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna.

Monday was also the 50 day countdown to Taste of the State, Soup Kitchen 411’s inaugural fundraising event on May 24. The event hopes to bring in $1M to support the purchase of an additional 1,000,000 meals from local restaurants in 2022.

“For the first five years, Soup Kitchen 411’s mission was simply to raise awareness about the epidemic of hunger, and offer a free database that anyone in need could access to find a free, hot meal near them, and we were very proud of that. Then two years ago everything changed, and we started dialing and emailing and applying for any and all funding to support our local restaurants while getting more fresh meals to people in need,” said Soup Kitchen 411 Co-Founder and Chairman Ken DeRoberts. “New Jersey is a better place for the existence of both Limits Cafe and Lunch Break, and we love fighting hunger with them, together.”

“So many in our community continue to face immediate hardship as a result of the COVID-19 economic fallout. In response to our community’s needs, Lunch Break remains a lifeline for those who need food, shelter, clothing, financial assistance, life skills and employment training, ESL classes, and youth programs and college prep guidance. We are committed to our promise: We will never miss a meal,” said Lunch Break’s Executive Director Gwendolyn Love.

Soup Kitchen 411 (@SoupKitchen411 on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook), is a Platinum-rated 501(c)(3) nonprofit with zero full-time staff. It relies on grants and individual and corporate donations to support overhead costs, including website maintenance, and social media that fosters mutual aid. Additional funding helps the organization maintain its Geolocation database connecting people to over 250 tri-state area soup kitchens and food pantries in their area, and funding to purchase meals.