Cranberry business owners helping fund Kids Castle Project one burrito at a time
There's no telling if February will be a good month for selling burritos, but Mike Geiger and John Iaquinta, co-owners of Moe's Southwest Grill in Cranberry, are eager to find out.
Throughout the month of February, the duo will contribute $1 to the Kids Castle Project for every burrito sold at their Cranberry business. Geiger hopes to be able to give $5,000 to the project that will create a new playground, replacing the old Playtime Palace in the township.
They also intend to coordinate a Volunteer Day in late summer with their employees contributing volunteer labor and donating lunch to those working that day.
The effort will emphasize local fundraising for the Cranberry Uniting Playground, or CUP, which has been deemed the Community Project of the Year by the Cranberry Township Communty Chest.
“We had been talking about (finding a project) for three to four weeks,” said Geiger, 36, of Mars. He and Iaquinta, 34, of Cranberry, always found some sort of cause during the holidays that they could support.
Nothing surfaced last year, but when the men heard about Kids Castle in January, they jumped right in.
“Mom and dad and a couple of kids, that demographic is our customer base,” Geiger said.
“A couple of things lined up and made us want to help.”
With two children each themselves, playgrounds are familiar settings to them.
“Moe's stepped up in a huge way with their recent support,” said Bruce Mazzoni, chairman of the township's board of supervisors and treasurer of the Cranberry Township Community Chest.
Rather than beginning with straight fundraising, Mazzoni explained, they recruited neighborhood and business ambassadors to raise awareness of the project. Along with a donation of $3,000, The Streets of Cranberry will place two large signs on its property to focus on the playground and do other promotional activities during the year.
“PNC Bank made a five-year commitment to the project and will donate $5,000, and Cannon USA donated $1,250,” Mazzoni said.
In addition, Cranberry CUP or the Cranberry Uniting Playground group has pledged $175,000 and the community chest $50,000.
But for such a large project, estimated to cost more than $500,000, manpower also is needed.
Westinghouse Electric Co. will provide 50 to 100 employees to help take down the old playground and Grace Community Church will supply some volunteers. Yet, the township still needs to find 400 to 600 residents who will construct the community-build portion of the playground, do the fencing, some landscaping and the final cleanup.
“You can see why we started with ambassadors first because the project is too big for a handful of people to accomplish,” said Mazzoni.
“This is the biggest community project in Cranberry's history both in size and dollars.”
But little hands also can help to create the playground area. Students from Rowan and Haines elementary schools and St. Kilian's are sending in drawings of what they want the community-build portion of the space to look like.
Students from some other local elementary schools also may send in their drawings.
Each design will be reviewed, and every child acknowledged with a “Playground Designer Membership Card.” When that play area is completed in late June, the “designers” will be the first to enjoy the new area.
Geiger and Iaquinto are ready to wrap as many burritos as they can from behind the counter of Moe's at 1686 Rt. 228, Cranberry Township.
“In seven years, we've opened six restaurants, built two houses and had four kids,” said Geiger.
“You just need to pay attention to the customers, focus on quality and cleanliness and take care of those around us.”
Dona S. Dreeland is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.