No one would argue that the restaurant industry is one of the hardest hit since the start of the COVID pandemic. According to a new survey released by the National Restaurant Association, nearly 1 in 6 restaurants (representing nearly 100,000 restaurants) has closed either permanently or long-term. In that environment, it's particularly impressive that a local restaurant was able to make a sizable donation to both the Chatham Borough Fire Department and the Chatham Emergency Squad.

Restaurant Serenade, in business on Roosevelt Avenue since October 31st, 1996, hosted a "Jersey Fresh and Strong" 4-course meal available for take-out or eat-in dining on August 20. The menu supported local NJ businesses and was paired with three beverages. A portion of each meal was slated for donation and the restaurant was delighted to be able to make a $500 donation to each agency.

Co-owner Nancy Sheridan Laird and Chef/Owner James Laird presented a check to Chatham Emergency Squad President Evan Skinner with their thanks for the Squad's service. Nancy Laird said, "despite the challenges that COVID has presented, Restaurant Serenade feels strongly that community support is an important part of our success." James Laird agreed, adding "We've had to call the Squad a couple of times to assist our customers and they have always been prompt and so helpful."

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"We depend almost 100% on community support and this gift, in this environment, is truly humbling,” said Evan Skinner, President of the Chatham Emergency Squad.  “Gifts like this from Restaurant Serenade help offset the high expenditures for personal protective equipment (PPE) and decontamination equipment the Squad has expended due to COVID in order to keep our members safe and protected.”

"This money dramatically helps our training efforts,” said Jeff Fricke, Captain of the Chatham Borough Fire Department.  “Six firefighters were able to undergo Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) training which is a difficult and intensive training program that teaches our members how to retrieve a fallen firefighter in the event of a structural fire.”