Large Donation Will Help Neighbor to Neighbor Expand Food Response

The Neighbor to Neighbor food pantry set up inside Arch Street Teen Center. Contributed photoIn response to the overwhelming needs brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Greenwich-based Interactive Brokers Group announced this week that it was committing $5 million to local and national organizations, to help meet the greatest needs of our communities and to support front-line organizations working to treat and contain COVID-19.

As part of this generosity, Interactive Brokers will donate $350,000 to Neighbor to Neighbor. Greenwich is experiencing unprecedented need during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The outpouring of Greenwich solidarity and support from individuals and local groups has been phenomenal,” said Margaret Tjimos-Goldberg, Executive Director of Neighbor to Neighbor. “This donation portrays the Greenwich business community at its finest. We are incredibly grateful to Interactive Brokers Group and they reflect the best of corporate responsibility and leadership at this time of crisis.”

Neighbor to Neighbor is experiencing a rapidly soaring demand for
groceries. Last week, they were able to provide assistance to 470 client households in need and this week it has increased to approximately 620 households. TAG, the Transportation Association of Greenwich, schedules and drives the grocery deliveries throughout town. Client families in need of assistance are referred by The Greenwich Department of Human Services.

This is in addition to 180 fresh produce and snack bar supplements Neighbor provides to CCI, Community Centers Incorporated, and Meals-on-Wheels each week.

The Jewish Family Services of Greenwich is planning to partner with Neighbor to Neighbor in the next week and will initially receive up to 50 bags of groceries, which they will deliver through their JFS volunteers.

Neighbor to Neighbor’s temporary location at Arch Street Teen Center is functioning well with plenty of space to organize inventory and pack bags of groceries for delivery.

Volunteers and staff work together while practicing recommended CDC safety guidelines. They are expecting infrared thermometers this week, for an extra level of caution. No one from the public is permitted access to enter the facility. But as the demand is increasing, Tjimos-Goldberg is concerned about the supply chain that is breaking down.

“Our traditional way of purchasing and obtaining food is diminishing due to stresses in the supply chain and prices are escalating at a very dramatic rate,” Tjimos-Goldberg said. “It is also alarming when we hear about farmers throughout our country who cannot get food to the people who need it right now. It is heartbreaking.”

Dr. Alan Barry, Greenwich Commissioner of Human Services, said, “Neighbor to Neighbor is a model of service during the pandemic. The Neighbor to Neighbor clients aren’t waiting in lines and they don’t have to go into stores to get food, so it is safer.” Dr. Barry is worried. “The longer people aren’t working, the more referrals we are getting. More and more people are in need of food. It is very concerning.”

The donation from Interactive Brokers comes at a crucial time. “We are fortunate to be in a position to operate our business continuously, through remote access for our employees worldwide and our automated systems,” Interactive Brokers CEO and President, Milan Galik, said in the statement. “We hope to assist those in the greatest need during this trying time.”

The current crisis makes it clear how critically important Neighbor’s work is to our Greenwich community and the needs will dramatically increase during this period of great uncertainty and anxiety.