When the world opened its eyes to 2021, so much had changed in one year – from the way we work, to simple things, such as spending time with our friends and families. However, one thing was certain: More individuals and families were suffering as a result of the pandemic, particularly the most vulnerable — the homeless, those living on fixed incomes, the unemployed and underemployed — all of whom were facing financial hardships.
We see these faces of every day; they are gentle reminders of our purpose. And there is no greater demonstration of Lunch Break’s purpose than the simple grace of passing food through our doors. As well as the grace it requires to seek help, to place trust in others, and the grace that comes with bestowing the blessings of that favor. In turn, Lunch Break is buoyed by its amazing community of volunteers, Board members, staff, donors and the community at large. Together, despite the challenges of this pandemic, we accomplished some amazing things in 2021. We never missed a meal — despite the many challenges from past years. And we continued our daily distribution of grab-and-go hot meals and groceries.
As new tools were developed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, Lunch Break led the charge, inoculating nearly 600 members of our community in the first few months of the year. Once it was safe, we brought our “working from home” staff back to the office and welcomed the community once again into our dining room.
This year, by merging with Family Promise of Monmouth County, we expanded our services to include shelter for homeless families — because no one should be without food, clothing, fellowship or shelter. And we laid the groundwork to expand our facility, keeping pace to break ground in 2022. With this expansion, we will see, among other improvements, an additional 2,700 square feet of food storage, increasing our warehouse capacity. This alone fundamentally will improve our operations, making Lunch Break more efficient and nimble in its ability to serve the community for years to come. Lunch Break was born to bear these times, to be a buffer and a barrier when society’s safety nets falter. It is a center of gravity where the hopes, needs and trust of a community are fortified by a generous network of supporters. Together, in light of all we’ve accomplished, we’ll open our eyes to 2022 and picture the future through a lens of hope.
— Kevin McGee, Director of Operations
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