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Sep 09, 2021

Lunch Break Introduces Renew the Promise of Hope

Lunch Break, the food security and social services resource, announced the launch of Renew the Promise of Hope, a $12 million capital campaign to fund an expansion of its facilities to accommodate the growing needs of the community.  

The project is designed to renovate the present space and expand the building into an adjacent vacant property in order to offer more self-sufficiency programs and increased community partnerships. The building renovation and construction of new spaces will provide much-needed facilities for food storage, an expanded pantry, kitchen and dining facilities, education rooms, and incorporate the Life Skills Center, which is now off-site. It will also expand on-site parking and create more lanes for unloading food donations along with more serviceable waste management systems.

Lunch Break Executive Director Gwen Love said, “Our current facilities are quickly becoming outdated, and Lunch Break needs more space to deliver its mission. We will not shrink from the challenge as poverty knows no borders.”

Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, Lunch Break reports grab-and-go meals were up 21 percent since 2019, and grocery distribution was up 111 percent. More than 11,454 were served in 2020 than in 2019. The COVID-19 Emergency Fund distributed more than $800,000 for the payment of basic life necessities, including utilities, car payments and cable service. The Life Skills Program offered 100 to 215 virtual coaching sessions each month and frontline volunteers gave 11,500 hours of service.

The rate of hunger among Monmouth County seniors has more than doubled since 2001, according to the National Council on Aging, a rate that is expected to increase as Baby Boomers age. 

John Klein, former Board president, and current Advisory Council member, said, “The staff and 2,000 dedicated volunteers recognize the barriers and roadblocks to doing more are centered on the ability to upgrade facilities. We need to do this… and we are excited about the impact it will have.”

In 2020, the Lunch Break Board conducted a thorough feasibility study which confirmed the community’s support of the expansion campaign, as well as a solid trust in Lunch Break to complete the project. Plans have been submitted to the Borough of Red Bank Zoning Board for review. 

Lunch Break also is exploring additional funding opportunities from local governments, businesses, financial institutions and foundations to ensure the successful completion of the project.

For updates, follow Lunch Break on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.