When you're in the midst of a global pandemic and your job literally goes up in flames, what do you? How do you pay your bills? The staff at Prestige Diner had to face this dilemma the morning of March 23rd but what happened next was beyond their imagination.
If you're not from the area, you might not know that Prestige Diner runs a community-centered family restaurant that strives to keep the special New Providence feeling alive and well and the staff are integral to this mission. They are quick to smile and say hello, they remember a patron's "regular" order and they keep the coffee cup filled. But when Prestige Diner suffered a fire in March that ultimately forced them to close their doors for repairs, the staff was left uncertain as to how they were going to make their next bill payments.
New Providence Police Officer Mike Hand started a Gofund me fundraiser to help support the staff, which ultimately totaled just over $12,000. The fundraiser was a success by any measure.
Then radio personality Glenn Beck caught wind of the story and on April 21st, Mr. Beck interviewed Officer Hand on-air and encouraged others to pitch in to the fundraiser, if their situation allowed. It worked. At the time of this writing the GoFund me had reached $16,095 to be given to the support staff at Prestige Diner.
The staff is so appreciative and overwhelmed by everyone's care and generosity, they are donating $500 of their GoFundme to the Community Service Association of New Providence today, and that $500 gift is being matched by the owners of Prestige, Harry and Jimmy Vardas, totalling $1000 that will help support New Providence families directly, in this uncertain time.
"The outpouring of community support was overwhelming. It was by unanimous decision that we wanted to reciprocate the kindness showed by so many people who contributed to the Gofundme for the diner," said Jimmy Vardas. "By giving to the CSA, we want to say thanks to all who helped us by also helping others in need."
The CSA has seen an increase in requests for assistance from New Providence residents, and they anticipate a surge as the financial and economic toll from COVID-19 continues to reveal itself. Donations to the CSA are used solely to help Providence residents during their time of financial need.
"We are grateful for the generosity and support that the Prestige Diner has shown our community and the Community Service Association. As always, the Community Services Association will use 100 percent of this donation to help those in our community that are less fortunate and in need," said Tom Montrone, President CSA.