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Chuck and Jen Van Fleet, right, receive the donation from the Plan Financial executive team: From left, Isaac Halls, Wealth Manager; Jack Hooper, President & CEO; and Joel Hooper, Business Integration Manager. Photo contributed by Plan Financial

published on December 10, 2020 - 3:05 PM
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Even though they couldn’t have a Christmas party, one Fresno company got into the Christmas spirit by giving a local restaurant the money they would have used for the event. And now, the two business owners involved are challenging other companies to do the same.

Plan Financial Inc. donated the $2,500 from their party budget to Vino Grille & Spirits, where they would have held the event.

“Restaurants are a segment of the business community that has been devastated by these lockdowns,” said Jack Hooper, president and CEO of Plan Financial. “There are some people in Sacramento who have deemed restaurants as nonessential businesses. We disagree. We think they’re essential to their employees and the families they support. They are also essential to the companies that provide their food and beverages, and as a wealth manager, we especially understand they’re essential to the local economy.”

The Plan Financial team, including their spouses, would have brought about 45 to 50 people to the north Fresno restaurant.

Hooper and Vino Grille & Spirits owner Chuck Van Fleet are both calling on business owners to do the same for restaurants.

“The generosity that has come from their donation is unbelievable to us,” said Chuck Van Fleet, owner of Vino Grille & Spirits. “We keep seeing people do such amazing things and hopefully his challenge will inspire others to do the same for other restaurants in the community.”

Van Fleet says the donation will help keep workers on staff longer, which will help, especially during the holidays. He says he is going to take the check and divide it among his employees.

Many restaurants have relied on loans to keep them afloat, says Hooper. This is a way to help them without an ongoing obligation.

“While there will be programs for these companies to obtain loans, the companies are drowning in debt, we are in a point in the economy that most of those companies will not be able to meet those obligations,” Hooper said.

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