CRANFORD - If you love wings and have never tried Angel's Wings by Rich Pierce, you should probably get on that.
No, it's not a restaurant - it's just a Cranford resident frying up chicken wings at his house for a good cause. The concept of "Angel's Wings" was created as a nod to his late son, Nicholas, who passed away roughly 20 years ago when an unsecured dresser fell onto him. Pierce pledges $4 of every tray of "Angel's Wings" he sells to the public to be donated to groups educating the public about furniture and television safety and other local charities when the situation arises.
For the football playoffs and "Big Game" this year, proceeds from Angel's Wings went towards two Cranford causes - The J.T. Vicci & Hearts for Emma Scholarship and the Cranford High School Class of 2021 Project Graduation. Pierce donated $4 from each tray sold during the playoffs to the Project Graduation fund, and $4 from each tray sold for the "Big Game" to The J.T. Vicci & Hearts for Emma Scholarship.
All together, Pierce cooked over 320 trays - over 100 during the playoffs and more than 220 for the "Big Game" - raising $510 for Project Graduation and $2,233 for The J.T. Vicci & Hearts for Emma Scholarship in the process.
"I love giving my fans wings they love, while trying to help out in any way I can," said Pierce.
Helping out his town's high school was a no-brainer, but raising funds for The J.T. Vicci & Hearts for Emma Scholarship was extra special for Pierce. J.T. Vicci was a 2011 Cranford High Graduate who died suddenly in 2017. Vicci was a talented multi-sport athlete and football team captain. J.T.'s father, John Vicci of Hull Vicci Construction in Cranford, and Pierce worked together on the renovation of the Centennial Ave Pool a few years back.
"When John lost J.T., I reached out as a friend and fellow bereaved father," said Pierce. Needless to say, we have shared a lot of tough talks."
If you are interested in giving Angel's Wings a shot, you can do so through its Facebook page. Pierce makes them upon request, mostly on weekends and holidays. For $45, you get five pounds of tasty wings (roughly 40-50 pieces), extra hot sauce, and blue cheese dressing. You can pay via cash or venmo, and pickup is at his Cranford residence.