Neighbor to Neighbor had much to celebrate as they gathered for a Groundbreaking Ceremony at their new building site, building permit in hand.
Executive Director, Margaret Tjimos Goldberg, and the Board of Directors announced the ability to begin construction at 248 East Putnam Avenue, steps away from their previous location, which was below ground and very tight quarters. This is the first step toward new beginnings for their staff, clients and volunteers.
In April, Neighbor to Neighbor moved to the much larger, temporary location at Arch Street Teen Center, in response to the rapidly soaring demand for grocery deliveries to more than 550 homes a week during the pandemic. The wide open interior space and large driveway area allow for safe social distancing and other recommended CDC guidelines to be practiced, as well as easy truck and van delivery intake and inventory organization. At this time, clients can no longer come on site to choose their own groceries. instead, Neighbor to Neighbor staff and volunteers are packing the groceries on site and partnering with local non-profit organizations for delivery to the homes of clients.
The new building will be built while Neighbor to Neighbor continues to operate out of Arch Street. Construction should be completed mid-2021, for a seamless location transition. The friendly, welcoming architectural design of the new building has a “home-like” feeling to it, set back on the ten acre Christ Church property, complimenting the style of the Tomes Higgins House.
It will blend into the surrounding neighborhood, with lush landscaping and mature evergreen trees as buffers between the property and the neighbors. Handicap-accessible, the new building has many sustainable design features including energy-super-insulation, high-efficiency heating and cooling system, and LED lighting throughout. Most of the building materials are made out of recycled content.
Pam Kelly, Board Member and Chair of the Building Committee, has been overseeing the project from the beginning. “I started looking for new space in 2008, after the financial crisis dramatically increased the demand for Neighbor’s services. As Board President, I presented this concept to the Vestry of Christ Church in January 2011, with Carter Harris as Senior Warden. As a member of both the church Vestry and NTN’s board, I worked with both sides to select the site and design the building. The church voted to approve it in June 2014.”
Karen Royce has served as Building Campaign Chair. It has been a long journey with challenging ups and downs along the way. “The vision of clients, volunteers, and staff walking into a sunny, new building at ground level has sustained me through thick and thin. It isn’t anyone’s first choice to come to a food pantry, so we strongly believe the more dignity and respect we can provide, the better.”
George Belshaw, current Senior Warden at Christ Church Greenwich, had this to say, “It’s wonderful to see the construction of the Neighbor to Neighbor building begin. Neighbor has called Christ Church home since its inception nearly 45 years ago.”
Neighbor to Neighbor is an independent 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that helps to improve the lives of financially challenged Greenwich residents by providing access to nutritious food and clothing, although since March clothing has been on hold. Individual clients have been recommended by social services or another recognized organization. Hunger and food insecurity has increased in Greenwich in 2020, impacting more people in town than ever before. Experiencing food insecurity at a young age can have lasting effects on children’s development, health and well-being, especially if families have to choose between food, medical care and other basic needs.
If you would like to purchase food for families in need from the Neighbor to Neighbor Grocery List, go to the Neighbor to Neighbor website, www.ntngreenwich.org, click on the #Givehealthy box, and you can select the foods from the wish list that you want to donate, put them in your cart, and pay with one click.