We all have a role in helping those who face hunger and remain at risk. In Monmouth County, Lunch Break has grown from a modest facility founded with humble beginnings into an organization that now feeds thousands of children and families every year. And the need for our services becomes greater with each day, as more unemployed and underemployed individuals and families living below the poverty line reach out for food and social services.
The USDA estimates that in 2017, about 865,900 people, including 260,340 children, in New Jersey were food insecure. That means 1 in 10 individuals (9.6%) and 1 in 8 children (13.2%) live in homes without consistent access to adequate food for everyone to live healthy, active lives.
Across Monmouth County, the rate of hunger among seniors has more than doubled since 2001, according to the National Council on Aging. And these numbers are expected to climb even higher as Baby Boomers age.
About 10 percent of New Jersey’s older residents, about 190,000 seniors, were at risk for hunger in 2017 and these numbers are ascending.
New Jersey has the highest rate of unemployment among veterans according to the United States Department of Labor. Nearly 11 percent, about 10,000, veterans are unemployed. These veterans rely on food banks like Lunch Break to survive.
— Feeding America and Hunger Free New Jersey
Grab and Go meals were up 21% since 2019
Grocery distribution was up 111% and more than 11,454 were served over 2019
COVID-19 Emergency Fund distributed more than $800,000 for the payment of basic necessities, including utilities, car payments and cable service.
Life Skills Program offered 100 to 215 virtual coaching sessions each month
Dedicated front-line volunteers gave 11,500 hours of service
Lunch Break represents a bridge to a future for many people living at or below the poverty line. In addition to providing nutritious meals free of charge, the expanded Life Skills programs rebuilds lives — helping people restore their self- worth.
Through Lunch Break, we all can look after the well-being of our neighbors who are underemployed or financially unstable. No one deserves less. Our Capital Campaign expansion plans have emerged from the faces of expectation, appreciation and gratitude we see every day at Lunch Break. Current facilities are quickly becoming outdated and Lunch Break needs more space to deliver its mission.
The hard work of pursuing our institutional mission returns a high yield. Lunch Break initiates and delivers the opportunity for a life of self-respect, self-reliance and independence. In the end, our future building plans are about generating social change and improving the human condition for many of our fellow citizens who need help.
Lunch Break … so much more than a meal
“I’m so happy, but I want to say thank you for believing in me. Thank you for staying by my side, so I could complete my diploma. Thank you, Ms. Kathy.”
— Nicholas Johnson, referring to the Life Skills Program
“When I hit hardship, I turned to Lunch Break.” When you are struggling, they help you. They never turn you away.”
— April Calvin, referring to job-seeking assistance provided by the Life Skills Program
“I am blessed because of your organization’s help. I am a single mother with health issues, which led me to have temporary disability. I have a 12-year-old son with type 1 diabetes, who is insulin-dependent. If it wasn’t for your resources and food pantry, I wouldn’t know what to do. Thank you so much for your help.”
— R., client
“Thank you from myself and my son Noah. Our lives have changed so much! It still amazes me every day when I sit in class. Thank you so much for having faith in my story. Lunch Break has truly helped me achieve my goal. I cannot explain the joy and happiness that I have knowing that I did it, we did it!”
Scott turned to Lunch Break when he needed clothing for a new job. He had been unemployed, existing on peanut butter, Ramen noodles and Spaghetti O’s, and was looking forward to a fresh start in the new year. Lunch Break not only provided Scott with clothing from Frank’s Big & Tall in Ocean Township, we offered him a meal and groceries, free of charge. He is currently employed and intends to give back to Lunch Break all the kindness he received.
“My experience renewed my faith in humanity – I was amazed at the kindness and genuine concern from everyone I encountered throughout this experience.”
Why We Support the Campaign
“At the Grunin Foundation, we believe a rising tide lifts all boats, and in order for the tide to rise, we all have to work together to create the right conditions. That is why it is important for us to support Lunch Break’s Capital Campaign, which will enable the expansion of their Life Skills Program, helping participants secure employment and improve their future career outlook. This program ensures that everyone has equitable access to job training and opportunities, which benefits not only those participating, but the community and economy as well. We are grateful to be able to partner with Lunch Break as they work tirelessly to make the Central Jersey Shore a better place to live, work and play.”
— Jeremy Grunin, President, Grunin Foundation
“We have been involved with Lunch Break for many years and have been continually impressed with what the organization does for our community and the quality of leadership within the organization. With Trudy’s involvement on the Board, we became even more aware of Lunch Break’s efforts, not only to provide basic necessities, particularly during Covid, but to encourage and help those in need become self-sufficient. We are proud to support Lunch Break as it builds for the future to become even more able to serve our community across the spectrum of Help for Today and Hope for Tomorrow.”
— Trudy and Charlie Parton
“Margo and I have always believed in the old adage that it is better to teach a man to fish rather than just give him a fish. We are so excited to see the Life Skills Center coming home, under the same roof, as the other wonderful community programs at Lunch Break. Now, we’ll know that if people need a fish, they’ll get it along with the skills to learn to fish, so to speak, all in the same facility. Lunch Break has come so far since our days of assisting Mrs. Norma Todd 30-plus years ago, and we are thrilled to be involved with Gwen Love and her terrific staff in this journey.”
— Paul and Margo Hooker
“Lunch Break’s dedication to giving people — not just a helping hand, but the tools to improve their lives — is unmatched. This mission is central to the health and well-being of any community. We’re excited for Lunch Break to be able to expand that mission. We’re honored to be working amongst such a talented, passionate and compassionate group of people.”
— Jon and Tracey Stewart
“I cannot do all the good the world needs ~ but the world needs all the good I can do!“
“In all that we do, we apply this motto. We share a strong bond with Lunch Break and know that this campaign will bring much good into the world for so many of our neighbors in need.”
— John and Robin Klein
In the News
For further information regarding the campaign, please contact Jill Govel-Gwydir at 732-747-8577, x3107 or firstname.lastname@example.org.