The halls were filled with toys, stuffed animals, musical instruments and holiday presents, welcoming hundreds of financially insecure families as they browsed for gifts for their children during the Lunch Break annual Holiday Toy & Gift Card Giveaway.
With the advent of fall nearly upon us, thoughts may turn to pumpkin-picking and the upcoming holiday season. It’s also the time of year when Red Bank-based Lunch Break relies on the generosity of compassionate community members on behalf of the food- and financially insecure – those who may never have the luxury of treating their families to the traditions of the autumn season or celebrate a Thanksgiving meal with turkey and trimmings.
The cast of ‘The Women of Padilla’ share a cathartic moment in the Tony Meneses play that concludes its world premiere engagement this week at Two River Theater. (photo by T. Charles Erickson)
Beginning with a 1 p.m. performance Wednesday, seven opportunities remain for the general public to catch The Women of Padilla, the latest in an ever-growing portfolio of plays that have made their world premiere on the Red Bank stage of Two River Theater.
Written by Tony Meneses (whose previously produced project here was Guadalupe in the Guest Room), the drama is an ensemble piece that reflects an ongoing commitment by the theater company to develop and promote new works by Latino creators. It’s also a succinct and slightly surreal piece with an underlying universal quality — a glimpse at the home front in a time of seemingly eternal war, as well as the ways in which we find family, build community, and latch onto gossamer wings of hope whenever something important goes missing from our lives.
The artists will commandeer the historic grounds of St. George’s Church once again on Labor Day weekend, as the annual Canterbury Art Show puts out the call to members of the creative community.
Press release from St. George’s Episcopal Church
The historic St. George’s by the River Episcopal Church has announced a call to artists for its annual Canterbury Art Show…a Tapestry of the Arts, the premier local exhibition and sale of juried and non-juried artwork. The three-day event will take place Labor Day weekend, September 2-4, with the preview Meet the Artists reception held on Friday, September 1.
Each year, over 600 works by artists from all over New Jersey and beyond are on display. All proceeds from the event directly benefit St. George’s-by-the-River and its Outreach Grants to more than 30 local agencies serving the needy of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, including Lunch Break, Family Promise, HABcore, 180 Turning Lives Around and more.
Previews for ‘The Women of Padilla’ start this weekend at the Two River Theater. Below, playwright Tony Meneses.(Click to enlarge.)
In a 2015 redbankgreeninterview, Tony Meneses confessed he “had a sense from the start that I was never gonna make money as a playwright, that it had to mean something more to me than that.”
The Guadalajara-born, Brooklyn-based dramatist was speaking about Guadalupe in the Guest Room, a comedy-drama with a personal slant that made its fully staged world premiere at Red Bank’s Two River Theater.
Press release from Little Silver Environmental Commission
On Saturday, March 25, the Borough of Little Silver once again presents its annual Environmental Day, an opportunity for residents to cut down on waste and clutter around their households, while learning about green solutions and other earth-friendly topics.
Hosted at the Women’s Club of Little Silver (111 Church Street), the four-hour event is scheduled to run between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., with a variety of services offered free of charge — including paper shredding, electronic waste collection, and a used clothing drive. In addition, the public is welcome to attend a compost workshop, a beekeeping discussion, and a planting demonstration by Bob Sickles of Sickles Market, scheduled for 11:45 a.m.
The fifth annual Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade caps a weekend of celebrations of Irish heritage Sunday.
It’s the kind of tradition that’s become something of a Celtic-cottage industry in itself: an event heralded by a full slate of fundraisers, competitions (essays, posters, soda bread), corned beef ‘n cabbage dinners, Irish seisuns, and even a “green tree lighting” ceremony that would give pause to Mr. Claus. All very appropriate to a ritual that’s been part of the fabric of local life for all of… four years.
Wait, what? While it’s true that the Rumson St. Patricks Day Parade is still in short pants, the annual occurrence has quickly assumed a pivotal place of prominence in community life. And when it returns for a fifth edition this Sunday, it will have cemented its staying power in the hearts of the Greater Red Bank Green, even as those minty Shamrock Shakes come and go.
The 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.
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).
The kids are in the driver’s seat once more this Saturday at the annual Touch-a-Truck fundraiser in Red Bank, while Middletown Day offers an opportunity to get hands-on with a NorthSTAR emergency helicopter (below).
“Every kid stops and watches when a police car or fire engine races by,” says Monmouth Day Care Center exec director Heidi Zaentz — and this Saturday, they’ll have an opportunity to get up-close and hands-on with various trucks, tractors, and emergency vehicles — even an emergency Medevac helicopter at a couple of big yearly events that have become major fundraising vehicles in their own right.
Count Basie Field (above) is the setting for a day of “play ball” and picnicking organized by Lunch Break this Saturday…while Middletown’s New Monmouth Diner calls in the classic cars (below) for a Monday evening fundraiser.
From the files of redbankgreen‘s All Good section come several reminders that the season for doing good doesn’t take a vacation during these dwindling doggy days of summer — and that the mornings and evenings ahead continue to offer still more ways to walk, run, cruise, or even head-first slide into serving the greater good.
One of the most popular public events of the local kid year returns on September 24, when Monmouth Day Care Center presents the 7th annual Touch-A-Truck event at Red Bank Middle School.
Press release from Monmouth Day Care Center
In the words of Heidi Zaentz, executive director of Monmouth Day Care Center, “Every kid stops and watches when a police car or fire engine races by” — and on Saturday, September 24, kids will receive a rare opportunity to get up-close and hands-on with these hard working vehicles and more, when MDCC hosts its seventh annual Touch-a-Truck “fun-raiser” event.
Scheduled to run “rain or shine” from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. outside the Red Bank Middle School at 101 Harding Road, the popular event also includes crafts, games (activity tickets required) and music. Food vendors will be on site, and a 50-50 raffle will be held.
Presenting its fifth anniversary edition in 2016, the annual Canterbury Art Show…a Tapestry of the Arts returns to St. George’s by the River Episcopal Church for a premier local exhibition and sale of juried and non-juried artwork.
The three-day event will take place Labor Day Weekend at the historic church property, located at 7 Lincoln Avenue in Rumson. Event dates are Friday through Sunday, September 2-4, with a preview and Meet the Artists reception on Thursday, September 1 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Hundreds of attendees and art patrons have enjoyed the Canterbury Art show since its inception in 2011. Each year, over 600 works by artists from all over New Jersey and beyond (including Fair Haven favorite Mike Quon, whose “Sailing Out to Sea” is pictured here) are featured, with 38 new artists participating for the first time this year, according to event chair Coni Lefferts. Proceeds from the sale directly benefit St. George’s-by-the-River and its outreach grants to more than 30 local agencies serving the needy of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.
The Encourage an “A” Program from The SOURCE at Red Bank Regional celebrated its graduating seniors and gifted them with items they can use for college next year. Pictured (standing, left to right) are Lexi Buffaloe, Olivia Nooney, Cecilia Gunderson, Jazmin Graham, Annmarie Melfi, and (seated, left to right) Dominique Bryan, Aliyyah Muhammad, Vandeka Rodgers, Day-Maris McMillan.
Now in its thirteenth year, the program encourages educational excellence in their students, awarding such gifts as flat screen TVs, HP computers, wireless headphones, a GoPro Camera and many gift cards to eligible students who earn from two to eight “A” grades in their third marking period. This year, 63 students qualified for the incentives, with the value of the gifts increasing with the number of As earned.
Mayor Pasquale Menna, right, at last year’s inaugural Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball. The fundraiser returns to the Oyster Point Hotel on Friday as one of several benefit events around the borough this week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
The month of May flowers into full effect with more than just greenery and colorful scenery — it’s also prime time for charity galas and other fundraising vehicles, dedicated to the benefit of some of our area’s hardest-working nonprofit organizations.
The event, which begins at 7 p.m., will honor retired public works supervisor and zoning board member Jesse Garrison (Humanitarian Award), the Count Basie Theatre (Cultural and Arts Award), the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department (Historical Legacy Award), Philip J. Bowers & Co. (Urban Development Award), and Riverview Medical Center (Manufacturing and Technology Award). Red Bank RiverCenter, the Special Improvement District founded in 1991, will be recognized as it marks its 25th Anniversary.
The bagpipes will blow and the leprechauns will leap when the fourth annual Rumson St. Patrick’s Day Parade commences this Sunday afternoon.
It seems like one of those traditions that’s been a part of community life for generations, but the Rumson St. Patricks Day Parade is but a wee chiseler of just four years of age.
Still, the minty-fresh event has very quickly taken a place of prominence here on the Greater Red Bank Green as a signifier of a year-round local love affair with Celtic culture, even as those Shamrock Shakes may come and go. More →
As part of a “50 Ways of Giving” community service campaign in observance of its 50th anniversary, executives from Middletown-based engineering firm T&M Associates (including President/CEO Gary Dahms ) joined the staff of Lunch Break in Red Bank on January 20. T&M employees were on site at the Red Bank facility to provide food and clothing to Monmouth County families who need help and supplies during this winter season. The “50 Ways of Giving” initiative continues throughout 2016, with employees encouraged to participate in 50 acts of volunteerism during the firm’s milestone year.
Brian Kirk and the Jirks (above) play Santa for Lunch Break, in a Saturday night benefit at the Basie…while Dr. Ryan Brandau (below) and the Monmouth Civic Chorus premiere a new Christmas choral arrangement on that Sunday stage.
They may seem hard to reconcile musically, in their oil-and-water realms of choral-canon classics and party-starting pop hits. But, each in their own signature manner, the organizations known as Brian Kirk & the Jirks and The Monmouth Civic Chorus have earned a place in the hearts of their fervent followers here on the greater Red Bank green. And, every year at this time, the Jersey Shore’s premier cover band and the award-winning vocal ensemble give back to the community, with a couple of highly anticipated events at that Capital of Christmas cheer — the Count Basie Theatre.
The final weekend of the Yuletide countdown kicks off on Saturday, December 19, when cap’n Kirk and his enterprising bandmates suit up and play Santa for Lunch Break, the borough-based community resource that provides year-round meals (and a whole lot more) to Red Bank families and residents of all ages. A sequel to last year’s successful big-beat benefit (and the fourth such “Santa for…” soiree that Kirk and company have staged since 2012), the “three-hour jingle balling of a show” commences at 8 pm with the chief Jirk (whose summertime “Dunesday” beach-bash benefits have been a Shore tradition unto themselves) promising a mix of danceable tunes, “Kirky Style” comedy and special musical guests, in a variety presentation that’s sponsored by “generous anonymous donors” and dedicated in full to funding the ongoing mission of Lunch Break’s volunteers, and their ever-expanding range of charitable, educational and support services for our community neighbors. Take it here for tickets ($35 – $75); bring a non-perishable food item for Lunch Break’s holiday food drive (or make a separate cash donation here) — and read on for more.
Rumson Garden Club president Diane Guidone (center) is pictured with Christmas Greens co-chairs Liz Dusko (left) and Angela Bennink (right), during the club’s annual initiative to supply “Holly Day” cheer to hard-working area nonprofits.
Press release from Rumson Garden Club
For over 80 years, the Rumson Garden Club, a member club of Garden Club of America, has held its annual Christmas Green Workshop on the first Saturday in December; a project designed to spread holiday cheer and help local non-for-profits deck their halls.
Since its inception in 1930, the Workshop’s boughs of holly, boxwood, magnolia, pine and spruce have been clipped from members’ properties, and brought to Bingham Hall. There the members gather to create evergreen centerpieces, embellish wreaths, stuff candy into bags and to herald the start of the holiday season. The wreaths, table pieces and candy bags are then delivered to local care facilities, libraries, museums, community centers, and other not-for-profit establishments.
This year, the RGC helped spread “Holly Day” cheer to the following community organizations: Parker Family Clinic, Love Inc., Monmouth Historical Society, John Montgomery House, History House, King James Care Center, Meridian Health Care Center, Rumson Borough Hall, Oceanic Public Library, Lunch Break, St. Marks Keansburg Center for Community Renewal, and the Boys & Girls Clubs in Asbury Park and Red Bank.
“It’s my favorite RGC activity,” said 50-year member Nancy Dickson of the project that also serves as a great opportunity for several generations of participants to work side-by-side and share stories. “It’s so worthwhile, and a wonderful way for members to get together and give back to the community.”
In addition to their annual creation of dozens of wreaths, dozens of centerpieces and hundreds of bags of candy, this year the Christmas Greens volunteers created 100 small arrangements for the meal trays for Red Bank Area Meals on Wheels clients. Little is wasted, as left-over greens are ferried to the Oceanic Public Library to fill their window boxes with seasonal greenery.
Serving as co-chairs for the 2015 Workshop were Liz Dusko and Angela Bennink, who commented that “There is so much creativity, talent, camaraderie and good spirits to go around…it’s great fun to be a part of Christmas Green Workshop and know that everything you do will bring a smile to someone’s face.”
From 2 to 4 pm on November 27, boys and girls ages 4 to 11 can boogie down to Taylor Swift in a dance off, complete with costumes and prizes, or participate in a Lego build off. Each of these activities is perfect for both boys and girls. The cost is $25 per dancer (or $50 per family), and all proceeds going to the Fair Haven-based Life Guard foundation and its programs of support for community members who are facing severe economic hardships.
It’s a continuation of a partnership that saw Kick Dance help support LGEF with a Thanksgiving food drive, collecting much-need food items for Thanksgiving baskets to give to local families this holiday season. Dancers collected items like grocery store gift cards, canned goods, stuffing and mashed potatoes, and other Thanksgiving food for families in need.
Every year, the Red Bank-based nonprofit Lunch Break provides toys, books, clothing, gift cards and other items to local needy children and their families through the annual Adopt A Family Holiday Toy Program — and here in 2015, over 2000 children have registered for the endeavor about which Lunch Break says, “through the delivery of Christmas toys, where there might not be any otherwise, together we can break the cycle of poverty.” So far, kind donors have sponsored nearly 200 children — and additional donors are needed to bring smiles to he other 1,800 children hoping for a toy this holiday season. All children, regardless of financial status, race, or religion are deserving of a holiday toy, which can mean everything to them. A new toy provides fun and brings a sense of pride in having something of their very own — so click here to donate and help bring a big smile to a little child in need.
Once a year, the CPAs at the Curchin Group in Lincroft take off their green eyeshades and get a little silly, setting up a miniature golf course among their cubicles and offices. And as always, the 10th annual edition of the Curchin Open, held earlier this month, was also highly beneficial for two charities — in this case, Lunch Break and Monmouth Day Care Center, both of Red Bank, which will share in the record $16,500 raised from attendees.
redbankgreen was there to document the fun, which included a packed clubhouse bar, a buffet and games. Be sure to click the “read more” for additional photos. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)