Neighbors Who Care supports medical center, area restaurants


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In the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a nonprofit community effort called Neighbors Who Care has been launched to feed the people its organizers are calling their “Healthcare Heroes” while supporting restaurants in Freehold, Marlboro and surrounding communities.

Those who would like to become part of the Neighbors Who Care effort are being asked to make donations of gift cards to CentraState Medical Center, Freehold Township, to feed healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly, and to assist individuals who are now sick and quarantined.

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Bari Siegel, the organizer of Neighbors Who Care, said, “We started with one neighborly ‘ask’ on Nextdoor (Freehold/Marboro feed) and the response from our generous neighbors was incredible.

“Moreover, restaurant owners wanted to help immediately. Thus, Neighbors Who Care – an effort to bring a little bit of deliciousness to our ‘Healthcare Heroes’ while benefiting our local amazing eateries.

“More than one hundred of my neighbors messaged me right away asking to help. So I started Neighbors Who Care, a campaign to engage local restaurants and supply gift cards to CentraState.

“It was a win-win approach, even at this very small level, to support our beloved local eateries and to give back to healthcare workers. We are fighting a war and here in Freehold, the healthcare professionals at CentraState are on the front lines every day.

“I wanted to help because these are the people who would help me and my family and my neighbors if, God forbid, we got sick,” Siegel said.

Participating restaurants include Mike’s Pizza in Morganville and Parlin; Pizza & Pasta Factory, Red Tomato Urban Pizzeria, Burger Bros and Bagel Talk, all of Marlboro; Empanada Guy and Romeo’s Pizza in Freehold; and Domino’s in Freehold and Manalapan.

Tony Romeo and his brother, Lino, the owners of Pizza & Pasta Factory, Red Tomato Urban Pizzeria and Burger Bros, were eager to help Neighbors Who Care.

“I am a native of this community. My customers, who are also my neighbors, have always been wonderfully supportive of my family’s businesses. When I heard about Neighbors Who Care, I contacted Bari right away. I wanted to do something nice in return to help out my community because we all need to come together as a community during these times,” Romeo said.

“We were eager to participate because we have always been a family oriented establishment. Over the years, we have enjoyed unprecedented support from our community and we always want to give back and reach out for those in need,” said Cemal Sam, the owner of Mike’s Pizza.

Anthony Comi, the owner of Bagel Talk, said he is participating because “in tough times like this I want to give back to the community that made us a success.”

“Our medical professionals are on the front lines and this is the least we could do for them,” said Subhash Talwar, the owner of Domino’s.

“The Empanada Guy family is honored to participate in the Neighbors Who Care program to show our appreciation to all our front line healthcare workers,” owner Carlos Serrano said.

Individuals should visit to learn what each participating restaurant is offering.

The gift cards are being distributed by the CentraState Healthcare Foundation, Siegel said.

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