CRANFORD - Has lunch been yet another thing you have to think about this year as a parent of a school-aged child? Flag for Cranford and local restaurants have partnered up to help alleviate the problem.  

With Cranford Public Schools operating on a half-day schedule, no lunch is served, creating another strain for parents. To help with this obstacle, while also creating business for restaurants that have been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, the partnership was born.

Currently, 10 Cranford restaurants - Rustic Mill Diner & Pancake HouseMr. J's Bagels & DeliThe Gourmet DeliCraven BBQUrban Burger CranfordPizzeria Bel GiardinoSub-OlogyVinny's Pizza & PastaCalabria Pizza, and El Paso Tex-Mex Grill Restaurant are offering Cougar Special/Student Discount Lunches between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Offerings range between $5 and $7 and all include a food item and a drink. 

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"This is a need out there right now for the parents, for the kids, and for the businesses," said Flag for Cranford Co-President Rebecca Morales Tantillo. "It's become a strain on parents because we're use to lunch being provided in school. A lot of kids walk home from school, and now they can pop into one of the restaurants for the special."

With less people going into the office and working remotely, restaurants have lost a lot of their lunch business. Tantillo hopes this initiative will help bring back a feeling or normalcy for restaurants and generate cash flow. 

"The restaurants are keeping staff on but not seeing a lot of bodies," said Tantillo. "One of the businesses said that they want their employees to feel like there's people walking through the door instead of having a day of nothing because then the workers feel like they may lose their job."

You can call your Cougar Special order in ahead of time, and most restaurants are also offering these specials for delivery. If you own a restaurant in town and would like to be a part of the Cougar Lunch Special Program, email Flagforcranford@gmail.com.