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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Jan 03, 2018

Rivalry Grows and Benefits Lunch Break

By Lori Draz

While some bleary-eyed shoppers competed with each other for Black Friday sales, an ever-growing group of Little Silver and Shrewsbury folks fought their battle on the football field. Started in 2002, this Black Friday tradition marked the 16th anniversary for the annual Little Silver versus Shrewsbury residents’ flag-football competition. And this year the event grew again, when teams from Rumson and Fair Haven also decided to join in the games. The four towns played tournament-style, with the winners of the first-round games advancing to the championships and the losers of the first-round games playing in a consolation game.

The four towns really put their hearts into winning, but the most important victory was awarded to Lunch Break and its clients. They were the beneficiary charity of the event and this year’s game raised a hefty $10,000 for the organization, which puts food on the table for thousands of families in need.

Rick Brandt, the event coordinator said, “All of the good that exists in Little Silver, Shrewsbury, Fair Haven, and Rumson is represented by this annual football tournament and it is our hope that through our efforts together, we can tackle hunger in our community.” Mr. Brandt, along with the other 300 players, collectively raised $10,000 and a truck full of food and clothing that was presented to Gwen Love, Lunch Break’s executive director, during halftime of the games.

Lunch Break was grateful to the generous sponsors and community members who made this event so successful. In fact, many of the players and their families from this event joined in a heartwarming pre-game warm-up when they volunteered on the Saturday before Thanksgiving at Lunch Break, serving warm meals to those in need while wearing their jerseys. Lunch Break has served the community since 1983 by freely providing food, clothing, and fellowship to community members in need. Lunch Break serves everyone with compassion and dignity.

The event began when mayors from all four towns officiated the pre-game coin toss while the fire, police, and first aid trucks from the four towns lined the sidelines. When the hundreds of spectators settled in, the games were on. This very festive, well-attended community event included games for children, men, and women, and of course, plenty of good-natured trash-talking, but it is truly a culmination of the friendships that are a part of the four-town family on the peninsula. Following the football games, all of the players and their families enjoyed the after-party at Val’s Tavern in Rumson, where “The Heaven” performed. Ross Brewing of Red Bank graciously sponsored the after-party.

To learn more about Lunch Break, visit www.LunchBreak.org.