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Lunch Break’s kitchen staff stands ready to again serve in-person guests. (Lunch Break photo. Click to enlarge.)

(Press release from Lunch Break)

red bank, nj, done good,After 15 months of operating as a take-away facility because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s Lunch Break is again offering its guests seated meals onsite, the food security and social services resource announced Wednesday.

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Additional facilities and parking would be created on lots adjacent to Lunch Break’s home on Drs. James Parker Boulevard. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)


Lunch Break, the food security and social services resource, announced the start of a $12 million capital campaign to fund an expansion of its Red Bank home Monday.

An addition to its facilities at at 121 Drs. James Park Boulevard is needed “to accommodate the growing needs of the community,” the nonprofit said in an announcement.

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Lunch Break children’s cooking class students Emily and Jack Pearsall with, from left, Oceanic Free Library Board President Carolyn Miller; Cups & Cakes owner Denise Kelleher; and Cups & Cakes pastry chef Maggie Condon.

It wasn’t just the luck o’ the Irish that helped the Lunch Break children’s cooking class take first place in the Oceanic Free Library’s Irish soda bread-making competition.

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the_white_road_cupFriendly competitors from Little Silver and Shrewsbury took part in the 15th annual White Road Cup game last Friday, with the flag football contest raising $10,000 for the borough-based nonprofit Lunch Break.

Press release from Culinary Communications

The recent Black Friday marked the 15th Anniversary of the White Road Cup, the annual flag-football fundraiser that pits players from Little Silver against their neighbors from Shrewsbury Borough.

First played in 2002, the event has grown to become a festive, well-attended community tradition, featuring contests for children, men, and women. These hard-fought games are exciting for all (and of course, bragging rights are important), but the true winner is Lunch Break. This year over $10,000 was raised for the organization, which helps to put food on the table for thousands of families in need (the charity flag football event raised $10,000 in 2015 as well).

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suzanne-keller-gwendolyn-loveThe SOURCE director Suzanne Keller and Lunch Break exec director Gwendolyn Love are pictured at the launch of the expanded Red Bank Regional Community Tutoring Program at Lunch Break.

Press release from Red Bank Regional High School

This school year, the Red Bank based nonprofit Lunch Break has graciously offered its facility to the Red Bank Regional High School District, for the expansion of its popular Community Peer Tutoring Program. Dedicated to a mission of “Removing all obstacles that impede a students’ academic success,” the program is operated by The SOURCE, RBR’s School Based Youth Services Program.

Fifty freshmen will meet at the newly renovated Lunch Break dining room every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 to 7:30 p.m., for homework help with their teachers. RBR upper classmen from the school’s National Honor Societies, Key Club and International Baccalaureate program also provide tutoring support for the students under the teachers’ supervision.

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rick-brandtPress release from Lunch Break Inc.

In a recent announcement, Red Bank-based nonprofit Lunch Break named Rick Brandt (pictured) to the nonprofit’s Board of Trustees. At  27 years of age, the lifelong resident of Little Silver is both the newest and the youngest member of the board, and will be involved with several of their committees.

Other new members joining the Lunch Break Board are Trudy Parton (Little Silver), Stuart Sendell (Rumson) and Juanita Lewis (Red Bank).

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Press release from Lunch Break Inc.

foodstock_flyer_2015On Saturday, May 16, the Red Bank-based nonprofit Lunch Break will hold the 2015 edition of Foodstock, a community food drive. The event will take place at Red Bank Middle School (101 Harding Road) from 10:30 am until 3:00 pm. The collection goal for this year is 100,000 pounds.

The 2015 Foodstock will include refreshments, live entertainment and children’s activities, with all members of the community encouraged to bring your family and friends, enjoy good music and good food, and be a part of a good cause — an organization that acts as the first line of defense for thousands of vulnerable residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, and serves more and more people each year.

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Press release from Lunch Break Inc.

Did you know that more food is consumed in the United States on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year — including, believe it or not, Thanksgiving and Christmas?  With a record number of individuals and families in our own neighborhoods throughout  Monmouth and Ocean Counties needing assistance from Lunch Break, there’s never been more of a need to tackle hunger on our home field.

In a 2013 New Jersey Poverty Research Institute study, it was determined that more than two million people in the State of New Jersey struggle to meet their basic needs. That represents an increase of more than 300,000 since the beginning of the economic recession in 2008. Nationally, the poverty line is defined at about $23,000 for a family of four — and the study put New Jersey’s threshold at double that amount, because the cost of living in the Garden State is dramatically higher than the national average.  Increasing numbers of local families continue to struggle with hunger every day. In fact, 85 percent of those who come to Lunch Break for help have at least one full-time job.

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Donating_Check_to_Lunch_BreakPress release from First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank

Recently, Tower Hill Church (The First Presbyterian Church at Red Bank) donated $8,725 raised from its October 18 Rummage Sale to the rebuilding campaign of the borough-based nonprofit Lunch Break. The donation goes directly to Lunch Break’s “Step up to the Plate” capital campaign for their expanded facilities and endowment on Drs. James Parker Blvd in Red Bank.

In addition, Tower Hill Church opened up its industrial kitchen over the last few months, for Lunch Break to use daily to prepare hot meals while its new kitchen and dining room are under construction. The Lunch Break staff is due to return to their new facilities in mid-November.

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LunchBreakNow that Lunch Break is one step closer to reaching their $5 million goal toward their “Step Up to the Plate” capital campaign for Lunch Break,” the Red Bank-based nonprofit is announcing a $1 Million Challenge.

This past August, an anonymous local philanthropist gave Lunch Break $1 million for their capital campaign and said, “I hope this donation inspires others to give and also step up to the plate.”

Inspire it did — now within $1 million of reaching their goal, Lunch Break announced that a group of local donors has pledged $500,000 as a “challenge” grant. In other words, every dollar donated from today until 11:59 pm on December 31, 2014 will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the donor group, up to a half million dollars.

“This challenge puts us one step closer, literally, to reaching our goal,” said Mark Brahney, president of the Lunch Break Board of Trustees.  “The funds raised to date have ensured the completion of Phase 1 and Phase 2.  The remaining funds are for Phase 3— the purchase of additional property and a capital reserve/endowment fund to sustain Lunch Break for years to come.”

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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)


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.

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NickDawes BrianKirkNick Dawes of the PBS series ANTIQUES ROADSHOW is the guest auctioneer — and Brian Kirk and the Jirks provide the soundtrack — as Red Bank’s Lunch Break celebrates 31 years of service during the annual Gala at Navesink Country Club.

Press release from Lunch Break Inc.

On Monday, October 20, Lunch Break will host its fifth annual Gala at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown. Presented under the theme of “Hope Happens Here,” the evening will celebrate 31 years of dedicated service to the community by the Red Bank-based nonprofit, in addition to honoring several individuals for their steadfast commitment to the Lunch Break mission.

Presentations will be made of the “Norma Todd Service Award” to Paul and Margo Hooker, the “Heart to Hand Award” to Inice Hennessy and Pamela Elam, the “Beacon of Service Award” to Carol Ingaro and Leigh Stoecker of Fringe Marketing, and the “Future Charitable Leaders Award” to Katie and Taylor Gill.

The evening will also include a spirited dinner reception, live and silent auctions, and a 50/50 raffle, with live entertainment provided by Brian Kirk and the Jirks. Special guest will be one of this country’s most experienced charity auctioneers — Nick Dawes, Vice President of Special Collections for Heritage Auctions in New York, and a familiar figure to millions through his expert appraisals on the PBS series Antiques Roadshow since the first season in 1996.

All net proceeds from the Hope Happens Here Gala will directly support Lunch Break’s critical programs.

One doesn’t have to look far to see the impact of the lingering economic downturn on the hungry and working poor among us.  In fact, the New Jersey Poverty Research Institute concludes in a 2013 report that 25 percent of New Jersey residents are living in poverty.  No wonder the demand for Lunch Break’s services has grown dramatically — and, to respond to that increasing demand and better serve the community, in March Lunch Break launched “Step Up To The Plate,” its $5 million capital campaign to enlarge the size and increase the functionality of its facility.

When the two-story addition is completed, the seating capacity in the dining room will be nearly doubled and there will be a new, larger, and more functional kitchen to serve the growing number of clients.  The expansion will also provide space for a clothing “boutique,” a “choice food pantry,” reception and waiting areas, private social service and intake offices, a donation drop-off area, administrative offices, a conference and meeting room, data stations, a maintenance office, and restrooms.

Gwendolyn Love, Executive Director of Lunch Break, said at the March groundbreaking for the updated facilty that, “Thirty-one years ago Lunch Break began serving hot lunches to Red Bank residents. Today our reach has expanded and we serve our most vulnerable neighbors who come from every town in Monmouth County, and from many in Ocean County.

“Last year, we served over 61,000 hot meals. Our food pantry provides, on average, groceries to over 750 families every month.   Our volunteers deliver meals to the homebound six days a week.  In addition, we have a clothing distribution center that includes our Suited for Success Program that provides business attire for job interviewees.  We also have an Adopt-a-Family holiday gift program, a Children’s Cooking Class, and a Gardener’s Market every Tuesday morning, year round, that distributes donated fresh produce.  We offer internet services, employment information, and social, as well as health and wellness resources.”

All this, and more, is provided under the direction of the Board of Trustees along with Mrs. Love, her small staff, and an army of more than 2,000 devoted volunteers, and is supported through the generosity of residents and many organizations and businesses throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties.   Hope happens here.  So, please gather your friends and family and join Lunch Break at their Gala to celebrate 31 years of dedicated service.  Our communities need Lunch Break and Lunch Break needs your support.

Tickets for the Hope Happens Here Gala are $160 and may be purchased online here. For additional information,  please call Petra Vanderven at 732-747-8577, (732)747-8577, extension 3106, or e-mail her at


CLIPPINGS_220 An online auction of images by rock photographer Mark Weiss of Rumson begins Wednesday to benefit Lunch Break, the Red Bank soup kitchen.

The auction, which includes images of Ted Nugent, Sammy Hagar, Ozzy Osborne and Paul Stanley, as well as 20 others, will be conducted on Charitybuzz through October 15.

Lunch Break’s fifth annual gala, by the way, is October 20 at the Navesink Country Club in Middletown. For more information about the gala or the auctin, contact Petra Vanderven at or 732-747-8577, extension 3106. (Video by Gerda Liebmann. Click to pause. And check out all the Clippings from the Green here.)

Gerda Liebmann bio


mark-weiss-utopia-1985Veteran photographer Mark Weiss, pictured at center with Todd Rundgren and Utopia in 1985, will conduct an auction of his famous images for the benefit of Red Bank-based Lunch Break Inc. 

As Lunch Break prepares for its fifth annual Gala, the Red Bank-based nonprofit plans an online auction of iconic photographs by famed photographer Mark Weiss to benefit its 30-year mission of helping those community members in need.  His photos of rock and roll celebrities from the 1970s and 80s—all signed by Weiss and his subjects — are known by the campaign name, “Feels Like the First Time,” borrowed from the Foreigner song.

These unique limited edition photographs are from the first time Weiss photographed each artist, and are hand picked from his extensive archives spanning over 35 years. Included in last year’s pre-Gala online auction were photos by Weiss of artists:  Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Ozzy Osbourne, Debbie Harry of Blondie, and KISS. These photos resulted in a substantial donation to Lunch Break.

The auction will be conducted on  Charitybuzz  from Wednesday, September 24, to October 15 (take it here for information about the auction and when it goes live.  Charitybuzz gives its bidders exclusive opportunities to make a difference, and live their dreams through online charity auctions with celebrities and luxury brands.

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Jon_Schwartz_hands_keys_to_Gwen_LoveOn behalf of the Monmouth County Automobile Dealers Association, Jon Schwartz of Schwartz Mazda hands over the keys to a brand new refrigerated truck, to Lunch Break executive director Gwendolyn Love.

Press release from Lunch Break of Red Bank

Thousands of neighbors in the local area have come to count on Lunch Break to deliver meals to community members in need, as well as to collect donations for their busy food bank facility. Just before Labor Day, a group of Monmouth County business leaders made a special delivery of their own to the Red Bank-based nonprofit — a donation of a brand new refrigerated truck.

Lunch Break executive director Gwendolyn Love took delivery of the truck, donated by the Monmouth County Automobile Dealers Association. Charter member Jon Schwartz personally handed over the keys to the Hino truck to the director, who said, “We are speechless.”

“This new truck will enable us to ensure we can serve fresh, quality, nutritious food to our neighbors in need,” said Love. “It will also ensure there is minimal disruption in serving meals during our expansion and transition into our new building. It’s wonderful.”

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DrLarryRetired Ranney School headmaster Dr. Lawrence Sykoff, Ed.D. — seen at right jamming with Tim McLoone and Holiday Express — leads his band, the Docs of Rock, to the Downtown for a fall fundraiser supporting Lunch Break of Red Bank.

Press release from Lunch Break of Red Bank

To kick off its October 20 fundraising Gala — and to celebrate more than 31 years of dedicated service to the community — Lunch Break is having a party at the Downtown, and everyone’s invited.

Scheduled for 7 to 10 pm on the evening of August 10, the event will feature live entertainment by the Docs of Rock, founded by Dr. Larry Sykoff, Ed.D. (Ranney School Headmaster Emeritus, Senior Consultant). Guitarist Sykoff is joined by keyboard player Scott Woska, M.D., (Interventional Pain Management); vocalist-veterinary dentist Kristin Scott, D.V.M.; drummer and dermatologist Ken Grossman, M.D., and bass player/ orthopedic surgeon David Lessing, M.D.

It’s a serious night of fun for Lunch Break, the borough-based nonprofit whose executive director Gwen Love said, “Many people think Lunch Break is just a soup kitchen, but we are so much more.”

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Press release from Lunch Break of Red Bank

For years, Lunch Break has served as the first line of defense for thousands of residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and beyond, in the ever-expanding battle against hunger and the ravages of poverty in the midst of affluence. According to the nonprofit organization’s executive director Gwen Love, food pantry distributions have increased by a staggering amount, with more than 750 area families depending on Lunch Break each and every month for groceries — amounting to nearly 400,000 pounds of food.

“Unfortunately, it’s a sign of the times,” said Love. “Summer is especially difficult, with schools closed and many people on vacation…but hunger doesn’t close for the summer or go on vacation.”

Between the hours of 11 am and 2 pm on Saturday, May 17, Lunch Break will host the third annual “Foodstock” community food drive at the Red Bank Middle School, 101 Harding Road. The goal this year is to collect an ambitious 50,000 pounds of non-perishable food — and all members of the greater Red Bank community are invited to spend the afternoon enjoying live music, good food,  good friends, and a chance to learn more about Lunch Break and its committed Board of Trustees, staff and volunteers.

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LunchBreakThe numbers speak for themselves: more than 61,000 hot meals served up in 2013 alone, to neighbors in need from all over Monmouth County (and beyond its borders). Over 600 area families assisted each month with groceries from the food pantry — and, perhaps most timely and telling,  the statistic that shows 85 percent of all clients served currently holding a full time job.

Even more priceless beyond numbers is the fact that, in the words of Lunch Break director Gwendolyn O. Love, “all of our services are free of charge, provided in an atmosphere of kindness, dignity and respect.” Established over 30 years ago by the late Norma Todd and a committed group of area churches and bsuinesses, the Red Bank-based nonprofit has expanded the old fashioned archetype of a “soup kitchen” operation to include senior gift programs, clothing drives, and employment assistance — and the busy building on Drs. James Parker Boulevard can be the scene for anything from cooking classes and social services counseling, to movie nights and an in-house Internet Cafe.

As a trusted, well-organized entity that depends on private donations for its own survival, Lunch Break is among several area charities taking part in the OceanFirst Charity Challenge campaign, a crowdsourcing endeavor in which the central New Jersey bank will award $10,000 to the participating organization that raises the most independent contributions by May 9, 2014. Coordinated via Crowdrise, the campaign kicked off on April 14, and features a series of weekly Bonus Challenges in which participants can win smaller Good Neighbor Grants and other rewards, for meeting weekly fundraising benchmarks.

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With the Affordable Health Care Act’s open enrollment period scheduled to end on March 31, Lunch Break of Red Bank will host a series of enrollment assistance sessions,  in which those who are uninsured can consult with counselors to explore their options and sign up for affordable health insurance.

During the Wednesday afternoon sessions — scheduled for the hours of noon to 6 pm on March 12, 19 and 26 — counselors from The Health Insurance Marketplace will be present at the Lunch Break building (121 Drs. James Parker Boulevard between South Bridge Avenue and Willow Street) to offer information and enrollment assistance at no charge.

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AUTHORITIES_RB2The crime and arrest reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of October 10 to October 17, 2013. This information is unedited.


Burglary occurring between 10-9-13 and 10-10-13 at Maple Ave. business. Unknown person(s) broke a window in the building and gained entry. Stolen was $100.00 in cash and loose change. Ptl. Ashon Lovick.

Theft occurring at Maple Ave. on 1-12-13. Victim reported that unknown person(s) stole an Apple I Phone from locker. Sgt Robert Gannon.

Criminal Mischief occurring at Oakland Street on 10-12-13. Victim reported that unknown person(s) damaged screen door by ripping the screen and damaging the frame. Ptl. Jorge Torres.

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Famed Red Bank area rock photographer Mark Weiss has announced the donation of a series of classic rock and roll portraits from the 1970s and 1980s, to benefit the borough-based nonprofit Lunch Break and its 2013 Gala and Fundraiser event.weissguy-about-me2

The limited edition prints, assembled under the campaign title “Feels Like the First Time,” collect a set of images dating back to the first time that Weiss had photographed each of the subjects — a gallery of luminaries that includes Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, Alice Cooper, Cheech & Chong, David Johansen (New York Dolls), Debbie Harry (Blondie), Paul Stanley (Kiss), Sammy Hagar, members of Bon Jovi, Boston, and many more. Prints are signed by the artists as well as by Weiss, and are being auctioned here through October 8, via the online service CharityBuzz.

The fourth annual gala for the charitable organization under the direction of Gwendolyn Love takes place from 6 to 10 pm on Monday, October 21 at Navesink Country Club in Middletown. Tickets ($150 each; the majority tax deductible) include passed hors d’oeuvres, carving stations, music by the Pat Karwan Trio, a silent auction as well as a live auction conducted by Steve Trevelise of New Jersey 101.5. Also offered are a cash bar and and a 50/50 raffle ($30 a chance).

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empty pantry

Bare shelves indicate a critical shortage of food items at Lunch Break’s Red Bank facility. The charitable nonprofit that marks 30 years of service in 2013 is putting out the call for more food donations in advance of its October fundraising gala.  (Click to enlarge)

Press release from Lunch Break

Founded in 1983 as the first Monmouth County soup kitchen and pantry by a group of concerned citizens, Lunch Break is currently the largest and most accessible such facility.  Today, Executive Director Gwendolyn Love, her staff, and more than 2,000 volunteers continue that original commitment and so much more — but even as the nonprofit prepares to celebrate 30 years of service to the community, the director points out that “our resources are critically low.”

“With summer vacation over and the push to get kids back to school and the signs of fall popping up everywhere, at Lunch Break the sign of fall is bare shelves in the pantry,” says Love.  “The toughest times of year for us are September and October, as well as February and March, where we face critical shortages. We try to plan for these months, but with the daily increase in demand for our services, when the food is gone, it’s gone.  It’s heart wrenching to plan and not be able to meet the need.”

“Unfortunately, it’s a sign of the times,” said Love.  In a study released last week by the Legal Services of the New Jersey Poverty Research Institute it was concluded that over two million people in New Jersey struggle to meet their basic needs.  This represents a significant increase of over 300,000 since the beginning of the economic recession.