RED BANK – As National Hunger Action Month comes to an end, Lunch Break, a borough soup kitchen and food pantry, among other things, finds its shelves sorely in need of restocking.
Since the financial collapse of 2008 there has been ever increasing problems of food insecurity and hunger in our area. In fact, the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties has seen an increase of more than 84 percent in those seeking assistance.
According to the FoodBank’s executive director, Carlos Rodriguez, “one in every 10 residents and two out of every five children” in our very own communities suffers food insecurity.
Lunch Break sees the reality of these statistics every day. Although Lunch Break is one of the organizations that receives food stock from the FoodBank, the need in Red Bank and the surrounding areas is so great it must rely on its own food drives and appeals, and on the additional food it purchases with donated money – approximately $40,000 annually.
Lunch Break freely provides life’s basic necessities for community members in need, including food, clothing and fellowship, but it is food that is running low right now. What began in 1983 in the basement of a local church where hot lunches were served was expanded in 1985 to include distribution of groceries to families.
In 2011 more than 45,000 hot meals were served, and more than 6,000 bags of groceries went to those families.
Area residents and those who work in the area can help by bringing food from the pantry wish list to Lunch Break at 121 Drs. James Parker Blvd. in Red Bank, or by donating money for the purchase of food.
People also can become a partner in Lunch Break’s Food Drive program.
For more information about the program, please go to www.Lunchbreak.org and click on “Donate” and then on “Donate Food.”
Items on the food pantry wish list (expired food cannot be accepted) are:
• Canned beans, dry beans and lentils
• Canned fruits, vegetables, soups, stews, chili, tuna fish and chicken
• Coffee, tea, juices
• Macaroni and cheese, mashed potato mixes, rice mixes
• Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and vegetable cooking oil
• Napkins, toilet paper, paper towels and food storage bags
• Pasta and sauces
• Peanut butter and jelly
• Salad dressings
• Salt, pepper, garlic powder, lemon pepper, basil, oregano, chili powder, etc.
• Small individual portions of applesauce, pudding, snacks and juices
• Sugar, flour, cake mix and icing
• Toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant and soap