Participating restaurants in the gift card donations were The Cranford HotelRustic Mill DinerPizzeria Bel GiardinoVinny's Pizza & Pasta, and Fresh Press Juice Co. of Cranford.

CRANFORD - As our policemen, firemen, and EMTs work around the clock on the frontline to protect and serve in these uncertain times, Carlos Arias, Private Wealth Advisor of Arias & Partners Wealth Advisors, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial, has partnered with TAPinto Cranford and local restaurants to feed Cranford's first responders.

With restaurants limited to offering just takeout and delivery due to the coronavirus, they have been one of the hardest hit businesses in the country. Despite the devastating loss in revenue, day after day restaurants are donating hundreds of meals to first responders. This is where TAPinto Cranford decided to coordinate an effort to provide first responders meals AND get money into the hands of the restaurants. 

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Arias stepped up to be the first to participate and lead the effort by purchasing gift cards from his favorite local restaurants. He purchased a total of $600 worth of gift cards, and the restaurants collectively donated an additional $300 worth. The gift cards were distributed evenly to the Cranford Police Department, Cranford Fire Department, and Cranford First Aid Squad.

Arias grew up in Cranford and graduated from the Cranford High School in 1994. He is grateful and proud to have had the chance to grow up in the Cranford community and happy for the opportunity to help. His wealth advisory practice, previously located in Cranford, is now temporarily in Berkeley Heights. His new state-of-the-art building, located at 990 Raritan Road in neighboring Clark, is under construction. He stated that he admires those that step up during times of hardship to provide a service for the community, and feels that the community should pay it forward by providing what they can. His message to the first responder is, "thank you and be safe."

A Message From The Participating Restaurants

The Cranford Hotel: "We would like to thank the members of the community for all of the creative ways you have chosen to help one another. Whether it has been through donating meals or gift cards, making homemade masks or food shopping for those who cannot, we have all come together to do our part. Our heartfelt thanks to the frontline for keeping us safe during these trying times. We, at The Hotel continue to remain closed at this time as we feel it is best for the safety of our employees and our families. We look forward to the day that we can open our doors and serve the community that we greatly miss."

Pizzeria Bel Giardino: "It's the least we can do for those who are walking into the direct line of fire, so to speak. I would just like thank the First Responders and let them know that we wish we could do more to help support them!"

Rustic Mill Diner: "Thank you to the first responders for everything they’re doing, and thank you to Cranford for all their support. There’s not another town I’d want to have a business in."

Vinny's Pizza & Pasta: "I am always happy to help the first responders. If you know me, I have been in business in Cranford since 1992 and have always tried to take care of our first responders as well as almost all organizations in Cranford. Anything they need, I'm there for them."

Fresh Press Juice Co. of Cranford"We want to thank our first responders and also the local community for all the support during this unusual time."