Spare change and cupcakes unite Franklin businesses in supporting addiction treatment

Franklin. Verizon Premium Retailer R-Wireless offers the offers the “Change for Change” campaign. TJ’s Pizzeria, which lost a 25-year-old employee to overdose, is honoring him through its Remember Their Smiles cupcake fundraiser.

| 08 Apr 2021 | 05:40

Two neighboring businesses in Franklin have partnered for the fourth year to help fight drug addiction and reduce overdoses in their community.

During March and April, Premium Retailer R-Wireless employees are encouraging their customers to “round up” their purchases to the nearest dollar. R-Wireless will match the donations dollar for dollar, up to $1,000.

Remember Their Smiles smiley-face cupcakes are available for purchase at TJ’s Pizzeria.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from both businesses will be donated to the Sussex County C.L.E.A.R program, a collaborative program between police departments and healthcare professionals that provides resources and services to people with substance use disorder and seeks to reduce overdoses in the county. C.L.E.A.R., which stands for Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery, is a program of The Center for Prevention & Counseling in Newton.

Remembering Robbie Hontz

The sunny disposition of TJ’s Pizzeria cupcakes isn’t just for looks. Steve Freaney, TJ’s co-owner, created the campaign to honor Robbie Hontz, a TJ’s employee who died from an overdose in 2017 at the age of 25. The pizzeria hosts an annual birthday celebration in Hontz’s honor to support his parents, family, and friends, who continue to mourn their loss, and to raise awareness about the need for opioid addiction and recovery services.

Remember Their Smiles calls on people to remember the many smiles lost to addiction and to prevent more losses.

This year, TJ’s is offering new cupcake purchasing options, including online at and on the TJ’s Pizza Franklin Facebook page, as well as at the pizzeria, located at 109 Route 23. Customers may buy individual cupcakes, add cupcakes to their delivery orders, and order a dozen or more cupcakes to be delivered to local businesses, first-responders, essential workers, senior centers, family, and friends. Virtual cupcakes will also be available for customers who would like to donate to the cause.

“We’re encouraging the community to use social media to help spread the word by posting and sharing pictures of their Remember the Smiles cupcakes and gifting our smiley-face cupcakes to brighten someone’s day,” said Freaney. “We all could use an extra something to smile about these days!”

Elvin Berndt and Amit Singh of R-Wireless, a chain that operates 38 stores, offers the “Change for Change” campaign and allows their employees to select the cause to encourage them to give back to the communities they serve.

Since 2018, the two companies have donated nearly $5,000 to the C.L.E.A.R. program. Last year, despite the interruption of the Covid-19 outbreak, both businesses carried on with their annual charitable partnership, raising a total of $1,600.

“This year, while much has changed in their business operations, one thing is still clear,” said Freaney. “It takes a community to protect a community – the fight against substance use disorder and opioid addiction is a cause that’s close the hearts of TJ’s Pizzeria & Café and R-Wireless, and we hope to encourage more businesses in our community to join us in the fight.”

For more information, call TJ’s at 973-827-7500 and R-Wireless at 973-823-1212. To learn more about the C.L.E.A.R program, call The Center for Prevention & Counseling at 973-383-4787.

About The Center for Prevention & Counseling
For more than 45 years, The Center for Prevention and Counseling, a private nonprofit rganization, has been dedicated to building healthy families and communities in Sussex County. The center leads its community to appreciate wellness through prosperous drug-free lives, using a holistic approach to addressing the disease of addiction.
Services include prevention programs that promote positive physical and behavioral health; outpatient clinical services to adolescents and adults; substance use disorder and addiction recovery coaching, educational workshops, advocacy, and support meetings.
The Center operates the Sussex County Recovery Community Center, Vernon Coalition, Coalition for Healthy & Safe Communities, C.L.E.A.R. (Community Law Enforcement Addiction Recovery Program), STAR (Support Team for Addiction), M-WRAP (Maternal Wrap-Around services for mothers), WISE (Wellness Initiative for Senior Education), regional efforts for Tobacco-Free for Healthy New Jersey (TFHNJ) and more.
Visit for more information and to get involved.