Lunch Break Announces Jon Stewart To Host “Celebrating The Legacy” Fall Gala


Jon Stewart, host of the Apple TV+ series, “The Problem with Jon Stewart,” will once again host Lunch Break’s annual fall gala on Friday, Oct. 20, 2023 at TillingHouse at Suneagles in Eatontown. This year’s theme, “Celebrating the Legacy,” will honor Lunch Break Executive Director Gwendolyn Love and Lunch Break for 40 years of social service to those in need.

Mrs. Love will be honored with the Norma Todd Service Award for her years of devotion to serving the needs of her beloved community members.

“We are looking forward to this year’s gala with great excitement,” says Mrs. Love. “We are thrilled to have Jon Stewart as our host and are excited to debut a new venue through our community partners at Sun Eagles. I couldn’t be more proud of our volunteers, Board, community supporters and staff for their continued commitment to our mission.”

The evening, which takes place from 6:30-11 p.m., will feature dinner, dancing, entertainment, raffles and an auction of premium items. Tickets are $400 per person; seating is limited. Sponsorship, ads and underwriting opportunities also are available. Proceeds will benefit Lunch Break’s mission of providing food security and social services, clothing, fellowship, housing solutions and life skills to those struggling with financial burdens in Monmouth County and beyond.

“Lunch Break has provided invaluable services to our community for 40 years. It’s essential in normal times and its value has only grown in these difficult times,” says Jon Stewart. “I’m always impressed by their compassion and thorough execution of not just food insecurity issues, but job training and overall life management support.”

In its 40-year history, Lunch Break has raised high the values of hard work, devotion to community, and unconditional love for all humanity.

Director of Administration Millie Jeter and Advisory Council Member Carol Stillwell with a rendering of Lunch Break building expansion.

No one greater embodies the spirit of that love and work than Executive Director – and gala honoree – Gwendolyn Love. Although the Norma Todd Service Award this year is in Gwen’s name, in truth it belongs to the Lunch Break community – the clients, volunteers, supporters and staff who have faithfully advanced our mission, with Gwen’s leadership, through the toughest of times.

When Hurricane Sandy dealt a knockout blow to the area in 2012, Gwen and her leadership team devised ways to continue serving prepared food and delivering groceries to people in dire need, in spite of widespread power outages and other serious obstacles. And when COVID-19 forced all of society to lock down and posed grave risks to our volunteers, Gwen inspired the team with her tireless front-line leadership, putting her own safety in jeopardy. She insisted that the food service continues without a hitch through both of these disasters and with the support of the community, Lunch Break never faltered in that mission.

Executive Director Gwendolyn Love, Recipient of the Norma Todd Service Award

Gwen took up the torch handed off by Norma Todd, the organization’s founder, in 2008, and she was a critical force in driving the once humble soup kitchen to become the multifaceted,  social services nonprofit that it is now. Today, Lunch Break’s mission goes far beyond the hugely important offer of food and clothing to people in need. And about that awe-inspiring food service, it’s useful to know that during Gwen’s tenure, Lunch Break never missed a meal, even amid catastrophic storms or global pandemics. That includes the 2,000-plus hot meals served monthly and groceries provided to countless families. Thousands of people also receive clothes and needed household items, and more than 1,000 families receive toys and gift cards through the Holiday Toy Program.

Beyond that amazing initiative, Gwen, accompanied by her abiding faith in the power of love, sees the Lunch Break mission as a holistic combination of a hand up, as well as sustaining help preparing a client for a new job, or in sorting out tangled finances, or in finding a place to live.

Under her leadership, Lunch Break has developed the Alliance For Success mentoring and college-prep program for at-risk high school students, Womyn’s Worth Mentoring Program and a Life Skills employment coaching program to provide clients with a pathway to self-sufficiency. Under her direction, Lunch Break incorporated Family Promise of Monmouth County in 2021 into its network of programs, to provide housing solutions, counseling, outreach and social services to Monmouth County families.

In recognition of the community’s growing dire needs, Gwen also initiated and has overseen two major expansions of the Lunch Break home at Drs. James Parker Boulevard: one completed in 2015 and a current second project which will double the size of the facility. Both constructions were a call to action, a proactive measure to ensure Lunch Break would be better equipped to continue assisting our neighbors in rebuilding their lives and restoring their self-worth.

Yes, this is a tribute to our dynamic leader, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the undying support of our community, through thick and thin – our hundreds of volunteers, our countless generous donors, and thousands of people who know and support Lunch Break for its reputation as a hard-driving, genuinely loving social services operation that never lost the humility of its founders, 40 years ago.  In honoring Gwendolyn Love as our devoted leader, we also take stock of the support, through gestures large and small, that has made Lunch Break the vital community institution it is today.

For tickets:

For sponsorships and further information, contact Development Director Jill Govel-Gwydir at (732) 747-8577, Ext. 3107, or

Lunch Break accepts donations online at or by mail: 121 Drs. James Parker Blvd., Red Bank, NJ.

Lunch Break is a 501(c)3 organization located in Red Bank, NJ, providing food, clothing, housing solutions, life skills, and fellowship to residents of greater Monmouth County. All Lunch Break services are free. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,  LinkedIn and YouTube.

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