Local West Orange Restaurants to Provide Students With Free Lunch All Week


Tyra Hughes, Editor in Chief

Yesterday, Dr. Cascone announced that the district needed more time to properly find out how they will provide services to students who receive free and reduced meals.

To the benefit of the West Orange community amid rising concerns regarding this issue, local restaurants including Pepes BBQ and Fortissimo are now offering free lunch starting March 16 to all students in grades K through 12.

Pepes BBQ, located in the Valley area of West Orange, will provide students with the option of getting rotisserie chicken or pork ribs with two sides (one meal per child each day) to either dine in or take out. To receive a meal, there is no purchase necessary.

Fortissimos has also joined alongside Pepes to provide any student who depend on free and reduced lunch with the option of 1 childrens menu meal or a slice of pizza with a side of salad. No purchase is necessary to receive the meal, so students will simply have to state their grade to benefit from this offer.

In a heartfelt Facebook post, the owner of Fortissimo, Santo Castronovo, promised to do “what they could do to help keep our communities and our families”

Castronovo went on to list some necessary precautions that his restaurant has been enforcing as our community and many others face this “unprecedented challenge”. Paying special attention to frequent cleanliness and social distancing, all parents who might be concerned with the risk of being exposed to COVID-19 should be assured that all Fortissimo employees are “thankfully healthy”. All Fortissimo employees, who have worked alongside Castronovo for nearly 20 years, are aware to stay home if they ever feel any symptoms of COVID-19.

West Orange Public Schools expressed gratitude for the kindness of these local merchants expressing that any other restaurants willing to aside students in this matter can tag them on Instagram.

For more updates on how the district is further dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak, check out our previous articles here.