SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Sangeetha Rai and Pinky Shah decided back in April that they needed to do something to give local restaurants a boost and help those struggling financially because of the coronavirus shutdown. Their "Dinner is on Us" initiative was born. Rai and Shah partnered with Gennaros and Nunzios in Spotswood and Romeos in Jamesburg to provide meals. Their first time out, the pair was able to feed 40 families using their own funds. Then with help from family and friends they did it two more times, most recently on Mother's Day. They now have provided meals to more than 500 people in the community. Their goal is to continue to do so as long as the community needs it.
The pair reached out to families in need via the We are Spotswood Facebook page along with the Monroe and Jamesburg Friends Helping Friends Facebook pages. Using the code Happy Dinner, a family could anonymously call the participating restaurants and order a meal for up to $30. Thanks to the additional contributions of friends, Rai and Shah were able to make Mother's Day a bit brighter for some and help local restaurants by providing business. The restaurants involved offered discounts on the meals ordered by Dinner is on Us families in order to allow the initiative to feed more people with their donations.
To widen the reach and continue to help struggling families and local businesses, Rai and Shah have set up a GoFundMe page. Their goal is to continue to spread smiles and hope by helping families in need while continuing to support Spotswood, Monroe and Jamesburg pizzerias.
"The response has been overwhelming," Rai said. "When we started this effort Pinky and I didn’t realize how much our community is suffering. We’ve gotten messages from people who have lost their jobs, are sick or caring for their loved ones who are sick about how this small gesture meant so much to them."
Donations to the Dinner is on Us initiative can be made via Rai and Shah's GoFundMe page. Any local eateries that would like to join the initiative can email Rai at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how they can become involved.