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.
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.
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.”
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.
“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 www.lunchbreak.org. Follow Lunch Break on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Give local, helps locals, stays local.