Update on FLAG for Cranford Efforts
Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” Our wonderful Flag for Cranford organization truly embodies this spirit of enthusiasm in volunteerism. Can you believe that in less than two years, FLAG for Cranford has spent over $370,000 at local food establishments and hundreds of families and frontline workers have been supported?
When founders Caren Demyen and Rebecca Tantillo asked me to join the FLAG efforts in March 2020, I knew this would be something big. I wanted to help our community during the height of the pandemic and felt that the impact of FLAG for Cranford would go wide and directly benefit the people who needed assistance the most during a critical time. I was delighted to join Caren and Rebecca, as well as my real estate colleague Barbara Zeckman and local resident/entrepreneur/Boxcar Founder Joe Colangelo in this amazing endeavor.
As the pandemic forged on, so did FLAG for Cranford, developing a Board of Directors that included the original volunteers as well as new member. Rob Chamra, Laura Pinto, Jim Demyen, and Co-Treasurers Maggie Morrison Feeney and Ellen Heaney Springer joined in with true dedication.
FLAG for Cranford at its inception
It all started with our goal to raise $5,000 and donate meals to our essential workers during the crucial times of COVID. Families were sheltering at home, small businesses were closed or only offering takeout, loved ones were contracting this unknown infection, and our frontline workers were operating on physical and emotional overload. Our community was in a state of utter despair. FLAG for Cranford rose out of the pain. It was a shining light that brought hope, compassion, and optimism for the future.
The concept of FLAG for Cranford was very simple at its core in March 2020: show appreciation for those who are caring for our neighbors and loved ones and at the same time help keep our local food establishments afloat. What transpired in the months to follow was more than we could ever imagine. Two months after the organization began, we had raised over $100,000 to provide 14,000 meals for front-line workers and their families across Union County.
It still amazes me how this community effort during COVID-19 to help save our small businesses in Cranford turned into this impressive rally by everyone. We truly are #OneCranford and #CranfordStrong !
Fast Forward to the Present
You may recall the wonderful news this past Fall 2021 that FLAG for Cranford was honored with the NJEDA grant for $150,000. As of the end of December 2021, we completed the spending of the entire grant in the Cranford community!
Thanksgiving was a huge success and Flag for Cranford partnered with Sub-Ology Cranford and Dreyer Farms. 200 snacks and 200 pies were given to Cranford Senior Nursing Home, Cranford Senior Housing, and our residents in need. Also, Marc Corello, owner of Garlic Rose Bistro donated 60 turkeys and the Salt & Light Ministry from St. Michael’s Church made 60 Thanksgiving dinners!
During December 2021, FLAG for Cranford worked closely with Cranford Family Care to provide meals to families in need. In addition, we arranged deliveries from restaurants to local nursing homes and give much-deserved meals to our DPW, Cranford Police Department, Cranford Fire Department, and other crucial local emergency operations.
More Local Organizations and Businesses Stepped Up
Our Cranford Knights of Columbus Council 6226 so generously donated $5000 in gift cards from local restaurants. These cards went to Cranford school nurses, members of the CPD, CFD, and emergency services. Cranford Family Care received gift cards to pass along to those families in need.
The Flag for Cranford Ornament Sale was a huge success. Many thanks to Marcy Duarte of Lemondrop Designs and Jacqueline Belle Fleur Photography. The proceeds of the sale will go towards purchasing gift cards. Delivery to Cranford Family Care will be in January as this is traditionally a difficult month for our families coming off a busy holiday season. Our hope is to provide CFC with some extra resources to fill in the gap.
Our mission remains the same
Thank you to all the local businesses, organizations, and neighbors for the outpouring of donations over this entire year. These donations came in the form of monetary gifts, gift cards, and food. FLAG for Cranford is in the process of becoming a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As such, fundraising dollars will go solely to helping Cranford families. FLAG facilitates, volunteerism, financial and service contributions to the members in the Cranford community during unforeseen hardship. As we know, 2021 definitely saw its fair share of need due to ongoing COVID struggles and Hurricane Ida devastation. Our local residents and first responders need continued support.
What can YOU do for Flag for Cranford today?
Please consider supporting The Gourmet Deli of Cranford these next few weeks. With Open Lunch now an option at Cranford High School, send your kids over! The soups and sandwiches are delicious – perfect for a good winter meal. Owner Dominick LaMantia would really appreciate your patronage during these difficult times. Store hours are 7am-5pm at 41 Alden Street and call ahead with order at 908.272.3290
Know of a family in need right now? FLAG is here to assist if at all possible. Please feel free to reach out to us via email versus Facebook messenger. The email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Donate! Here’s how you can donate to Flag for Cranford today! https://flagforcranford.com/make-a-donation