A coalition of restaurants in Monmouth and Ocean Counties, N.J., Chef Lou’s Army has officially secured its third sequential Sustain & Serve NJ grant via the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA).

Per Sustain & Serve NJ, “Grantees have purchased nearly 2.5 million meals from more than 400 participating restaurants across nearly 150 municipalities in all 21 counties.”

Thanks to this grant, Chef Lou’s Army and its “Army of Partners” are now purchasing, preparing and distributing over 2,000 meals per week at seven (7) different easy-access locations through Toms River, Asbury Park, Lakewood, Oceangate, Bayville and Point Pleasant, N.J. This impressive, inspiring meals per week volume will continue through March 2023, equating to some 30,000 FREE, hot, ready-to-eat meals distributed to those who need and deserve it most.

Per Chef Lou’s Army Founder, Chef Lou Smith, “We are proud and we are humbled with all the Army has done together up and down the Jersey Shore. We’re still young and just getting started. We first launched Spring 2020 and mega-generous donations helped us deliver 50,000 meals in our first 50 days. It was incredible and since that time, now just two years later, we are helping our front lines stay healthy and nourished with a free, hot meal as well as those in our community that might need a meal the most. We thank NJEDA and everyone involved. We’re changing thousands of lives every single week.”

In addition to combating hunger in our communities, NJEDA’s Sustain & Serve program and its partners, Chef Lou’s Army and more, have been recognized by The New York Times and as “a program to help restaurants and people in need.” The operation of Chef Lou’s Army combined with NJEDA funding has helped the Army’s coalition of restaurants and staff continue to operate, keep their people employed and – most importantly – provide thousands of hot, nutritious, timely meals to those in need.

If you are interested in helping Chef Lou’s Army feed our front lines, our community, our friends and neighbors, please contact us today. Our website is open 24x7x365 for donations and more.

Born out of the global pandemic in April 2020, 501(c)(3) non-profit Chef Lou’s Army is comprised of dedicated partner restaurants and strategic food distribution centers located throughout Monmouth and Ocean Counties, New Jersey. Since its launch, Chef Lou’s Army has delivered hundreds of thousands of FREE nutritious, ready-to-eat meals to police, firefighters, EMS, nurses, military veterans, families, children and people in need. To learn more, donate or to get involved, please visit