Lunch Break team with NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy at Student Backpack giveaway
Lunch Break team with NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy. From left: Director of Administration Millie Jeter, Board President Phil Antoon, Development Manager Jill Govel-Gwydir, First Lady Tammy Murphy and Program Director Sharda Jetwani Love

RED BANK, N.J. — More than 800 backpacks filled with school supplies were distributed to students in need during Community Day 2021. The event, sponsored by Lunch Break and Pilgrim Baptist Church, was a community outpouring of love for neighbors and concern for the well-being of students and their families. 

Eat Clean Bro with Program Director Sharda Jetwani Love at Student Backpack Giveaway
Eat Clean Bro with Program Director Sharda Jetwani Love

An army of Lunch Break staff and volunteers, led by Program Director Sharda Jetwani Love and Director of Administration Millie Jeter and Pastor Porter’s congregants, helped to organize and distribute backpacks, which were generously donated by individuals, corporations and businesses. Excited students, eager to begin the new school year equipped with the tools for learning, gathered with their parents at Pilgrim Baptist Church, awaiting their turn to choose a favorite backpack color. Not only were they treated to school supplies, students enjoyed a day filled with games, food, and free haircuts, courtesy of Lambs & Wolves salon in Red Bank. For those with appointments, the Parker Family Health Center provided vaccinations to more than 60 people.

Parker Family Health Center vaccination clinic at student backpack giveaway
Parker Family Health Center vaccination clinic

In keeping with the spirit of community, NJ First Lady Tammy Murphy, State Sen. Vin Gopal and Red Bank Mayor Pat Menna and council members joined in the day’s festivities, which were dampened slightly by a quick shower or two, the remnants of Tropical Storm Henri. 

“Congratulations to the Lunch Break staff, our many volunteers, donors and sponsors for their efforts in making Community Day a complete success,” says Lunch Break Executive Director Gwendolyn Love. “We couldn’t have asked for a better day, and to see the expressions of happiness on our children’s faces, it was worth all the hard work.”

JBJ Soul Kitchen volunteers at student backpacks giveaway
JBJ Soul Kitchen volunteers

In addition to Pilgrim Baptist Church, a special thank-you goes to Community Day partners the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monmouth County, JBJ Soul Kitchen, the New Jersey Department of Health, Parker Family Health Center, National Sorority Phi Delta Kappa Inc., the D.I.V.A.S, the YMCA of Greater Monmouth County, and Eat Clean Bro for providing the food. Also on hand were 13 Monmouth County non-profits offering information on available resources.       

Lambs & Wolves salon, Red Bank, founder and owner Glen Goldbaum styles a student’s hair.
Lambs & Wolves salon, Red Bank, founder and owner Glen Goldbaum styles a student’s hair.

“Everyone was a winner at this year’s Community Day, especially Lunch Break,” said Jeter. “We couldn’t have done it without the tremendous support from our volunteers, donors and sponsors, who helped to bring smiles to the faces of our families.”

Lunch Break, a social services resource center, freely provides life’s basic necessities of food, clothing, fellowship, as well as life skills and employment coaching to the greater Monmouth County community and beyond. Critical to the center’s mission is collaborating with community partners in an effort to bring clients the necessary skills to encourage them on their path to self-sufficiency.

Donations are accepted at Follow Lunch Break on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Give local, helps locals, stays local.   

Additional articles:

Lunch Break and Pilgrim Baptist Church Sponsor Community Day

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Lunch Break

Lunch Break is a registered 501© 3 nonprofit.  The resource center freely provides food, clothing, social services, fellowship and life skills to those struggling with financial insecurity as a path...