Upcoming Events & Distributions


About Chef Lou’s Army

As the 2020 Pandemic began and restaurants shut down, Chef Lou Smith went to work! Joining forces with other chefs throughout two NJ counties, within two months 50,000 meals were supplied to essential emergency workers and people in need who could no longer reach help. Chef Lou’s Army since has prepared and distributed over 225,000 meals through public donations, government, and corporate grants, and various non profit partnerships.

Using our growing network of restaurants and partners we created a At Home Meals Program and Meal Distribution Program to be able to quickly bring meals, supplies, and other community resources to people experiencing emergencies for several days to several weeks throughout Monmouth and Ocean County. While also using our Resource Program to find what other community and government programs can help recipients recover from emergencies and improve their quality of living.

What is food security and insecurity?

Food security is the level of ability to obtain and afford a sustainable supply of safe nutritious food.

A more exact definition of where the level for being food insecure from the NJ Economic Development Authority is obtaining a meal over 500 calories twice a day for at least 2/3rds of the week and for at least 2/3rds of the year. People not meeting this criteria can be considered food insecure.

Current USDA estimates are that about:

  • 1 in 10 people

  • 1 in 14 seniors

  • 1 in 8 kids

  • 1 in 5 single parent households

Struggle with food insecurities.

What most often causes food insecurity?

Food insecurity is often the most noticeable effect after an emergency or crisis strikes an individual, family, or an entire local area. Some often linked emergencies can include; sudden losses (loved one, home, caretaker); becoming disabled or sick with costly medical treatments; sudden necessary financial costs or sudden loss of ability to work, both drastically changing household budgets; and natural disasters that can cause all of the prior mentioned factors to a large area.

Majority of food insecure are in that position due to the inability to work enough hours or for high enough wage to make enough money to recover from a crisis or afford costs of living. 

How does Chef Lou’s Army fight hunger?

Hunger is a far reaching problem that requires a joint response from government, agriculture, community leaders, and community grocers/food service businesses

Our organization focuses on involving restaurants in our response to crisis that are often associated with hunger. Restaurants offer a powerful way to respond everywhere that food insecurity exists. With thousands of different restaurant locations throughout any given state, there will always be several within reach to prepare quality nutritious meals for someone struggling and in need of assistance.

If you are in need of assistance please Request Meals from us and tell us a little more about your situation.

What other help is available to reduce food and other insecurities?

With over 40,000 nonprofit organizations in New Jersey alone, and dozens of government assistance programs, there are many ways to receive assistance to alleviate struggles that contribute to a persons level of food insecurity.

Our resource program links up over 200 of these organizations and government programs with the people that will benefit from their programs the most. The sooner a recipient is made aware of and receives support the far more effective the assistance programs can be.

See if any resources may be available to assist you by reviewing our Resource Program.


Chef Lou's Army uses a growing network of restaurants, businesses, town leaders, and other non-profits to fight food insecurities!


join our army

Chef Lou's Army uses a growing network of restaurants, businesses, town leaders, and other non-profits to fight food insecurities!