Grant helps Chef Lou’s Army continue support of the community


MANASQUAN — Chef Lou’s Army mobilized last spring in an effort to help frontline and essential workers, families in need and the community as a whole during the coronavirus pandemic.

Now the group, organized by Chef Lou Smith, owner of Blend on Main and Peach Pit Cafe, has been awarded a grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority through its Sustain and Serve NJ program.

The grant has enabled the organization to continue feeding families in need through the Manasquan, Brielle and Ocean Gate school districts, all of which have partnered with Chef Lou’s Army, Mr. Smith said.


Mr. Smith established Chef Lou’s Army last April when he realized a need in the community.

“It was all birthed during [the pandemic] when people were struggling to get food early on we were able to get them the things they needed,” Mr. Smith said.

“There was a whole lot of uncertainty,” he said. “We made sure we kept the community calm … and let them know we were there for them no matter what.”

The organization consists of partner chefs and restaurants throughout the state, to provide ready-to-eat, free and nutritious meals.

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