Janie Schildge our walk coordinator and committee member Janis Iwanyk visited one of our local partner programs Saturday. Meal at Noon located on 93 Liberty St. in Long Branch has been serving hot meals since it was founded 15 years ago in 1977 by Long Branch residents Lou Armour and his wife Barbara. Volunteers at Meal at Noon serve hot meals on Saturdays and provide bag lunches on Wednesdays. Due to a shortage of volunteers, Janie and Janis were recruited to volunteer and helped to serve over 70 hot meals. They had the opportunity to speak with Byron Griffin the Assistant Director (also volunteer) who shared information on the program to show how Meal at Noon helps to end hunger on a local level. The Red Bank CROP Hunger Walk supports 17 local Monmouth County partner programs.
Meal at Noon averages 80-85 meals in the winter and about 70 in the summer. Byron believes the drop off is due to the Hispanic men that can't attend because of extended work hours in the warmer weather. They average about 55 bag lunches on Wednesdays. Most of the food comes from The Food Bank of Monmouth & Ocean Counties. The rest is purchased with funds from churches, the Red Bank CROP Walk and from private donations.
Byron said their Thanksgiving and Christmas meals (served the Saturday before the actual holiday) is especially popular. They routinely serve over 100 meals sometimes as high as 135 meals on those days. During the Christmas meal they also provide gifts for everyone who eats with them. Byron is pictured on the far right.
Volunteers primarily come from area churches each one taking a specific Saturday of the month.
1st Old First United Methodist Church of West Long Branch.
2nd First Baptist Church of Long Branch
3rd Reformation Lutheran Church West Long Branch
4th Oceanport Methodist Church
5th First Presbyterian Church of Long Branch
Meal at Noon is also lucky to have strong support from Monmouth University students. Pictured with Lou Armour is Mychal Mills a grad student who has offered to work with us to increase student involvement with the Red Bank CROP Walk for our 32nd hunger walk October 21st.
We didn't get a photo of the volunteer cooks. They were amazing as they prepared meals in the kitchen (in this heat!) without air-conditioning! We offer our thank you to all the volunteers that make such a difference in the lives of the people they serve.
To borrow from John Wesley...Do all the good you can, with all the means you have, in all the ways, in all the places, for all the people in need, as long as you can. If you would like to volunteer with this year's hunger walk please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Our Facebook Page