RED BANK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey mom whose husband died several years ago found herself relying on a soup kitchen to help feed her children at the time.
Now back on her feet, Nicole Rogg is now paying it forward as a volunteer at the same non-profit in Red Bank. She says she remembers being the one in line at Lunch Break after her husband, Robert, died of kidney failure at 38-years-old.
“Things got really tough, bills fell behind and it got difficult to make ends meet,” Nicole said.
Her children were just four and seven when she had to leave her job as a pharmacy technician to take care of them following Robert’s death five years ago. She turned to Lunch Break for help and learned the non-profit not only fed people, but also provided groceries, clothes, and even toys.
“The kids really loved the fact that Christmas morning there were gifts under the tree because it got tough,” Nicole said.
She says her family slowly got back on their feet. After remarrying two years ago and with her children doing well, Nicole decided she wanted to return to Lunch Break as a volunteer.
“When things started to improve and what not, she asked me if she could come and volunteer because she wanted to give back and I thought that was fantastic,” Peg Rizzo from Lunch Break said.
Nicole says she hoped to give a smile or lend an ear to someone else who could be suffering or going through a rough time.
The non-profit has been helping families for 35 years, and with the holidays fast approaching and the temperature starting to drop the number of clients are expected to triple in the coming weeks.
The organization is funded by grants and donations, with 22 volunteers and hundreds of volunteers.
“The most incredible thing about Lunch Break is the sense of dignity and respect, and it’s not embarrassing to ask for help,” John Klein from Lunch Break said. “We all need help some time in our lives.”
Nicole says chance to pay it forward has been rewarding, and that she’s setting out to make sure everyone she serves know they’re not alone.