GREENWICH, CT — Customers who purchase a "Neighbor Strong" sushi roll or a "#GiveHealthy" appetizer from Miku Sushi in Greenwich this month can also help support Greenwich residents struggling with food insecurity.
For the month of November, the restaurant, located on Greenwich Avenue, will donate 100% of the proceeds from these two menu items to Neighbor to Neighbor, a local food pantry. (To sign up for Greenwich breaking news alerts and more, click here.)
According to Miku co-owner K Dong, the aim of this initiative is to give back to the community that has supported his restaurant, especially as his restaurant and others across the state continue to grapple with the coronavirus this year.
"It's important for us to be involved with the community," Dong said in a statement. "We are grateful for the warm welcome we received when we opened last year and for the support we received during this year's pandemic. Our goal is to pay it forward, promote the spirit of giving, and also strengthen our relationship with our customers."
The restaurant's non-profit campaign promotes a new partner each month, having supported organizations such as Kids in Crisis, the Bruce Museum, Light to the Avenue and more since it began in February.
Margaret Tjimos Goldberg, executive director of Neighbor to Neighbor, said working with Miku has been an absolute pleasure.
"Miku is a star in Greenwich," Goldberg said. "K is just such a kind soul, and to have this kind of platform to support nonprofits is just such a high measure of generosity, and we appreciate that."
She also said the organization would "absolutely" partner with the restaurant again in the future.
"Anything we can do to engage and support their business, as well as support our mission," Goldberg said. "We are all in favor of lifting the Greenwich community...[and] we just appreciate K's partnership."
The initiative, which will run for the full month of November, is not the first time Neighbor to Neighbor has partnered with a business in town, Goldberg said. In addition to working with local businesses, the organization is also a member of the Greenwich Chamber of Commerce.
"[Neighbor to Neighbor] does so much to help those who are in need of food and clothing," Chamber president Marcia O’Kane said. "Our privileged community has always been generous in supporting this important non-profit. During this COVID-19 crisis, it is more important than ever to lend a helping hand."
The organization also works extensively with the local school district and town government, specifically the Department of Human Services. According to First Selectman Fred Camillo, Neighbor to Neighbor is one of the town's true community partners.
"For decades, Neighbor to Neighbor has provided invaluable services to our residents and those in nearby communities," Camillo said. "As we continue to deal with the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Neighbor to Neighbor is a lifeline to nearly 600 Greenwich families who are food insecure. That is a number that is about double of the families served [prior to] COVID-19."
He also noted it was "inspiring" to see the work accomplished by Neighbor to Neighbor, in partnership with the human services department, each day.
While working to aid local families grappling with the coronavirus, the organization itself has also been impacted by the virus in a number of ways.
Neighbor to Neighbor is typically housed at the Christ Church Annex on East Putnam Avenue, however the organization was forced to move its operations to the Arch Street Teen Center after the church campus closed down in March, Goldberg said.
"We set up our operation at Arch Street...and we were able to very quickly pivot," Goldberg said, "and continue to provide food assistance to our client families and households."
Goldberg said the organization saw "an inundation of individuals" asking for support very quickly as a result of the pandemic, however they were ultimately able to create an effective working model to help them reach everybody.
"I think we see ourselves being well-prepared for the next six months," Goldberg said, "which, I think, is the next challenge that everybody is sort of preparing for."
It all falls under Neighbor to Neighbor's mission to act as a "vital resource of support" for community members while treating all of its client families with dignity and respect. It's a pleasure for Goldberg, who has a deep love for the community as a whole.
"Greenwich takes my breath away," Goldberg said. "The groundswell of support that we have received during this COVID-19 period has just been astounding. It shows the grace and humanity within this community."
Those who wish to support Neighbor to Neighbor can do so through their website.