Fairfield County Aid, From Near & Far

Connecticut leads the nation in income inequality. The top 1 percent of our residents earn average incomes more than 48 times those of the bottom 99 percent. In Fairfield County, the figures are undoubtedly even more skewed.

Quietly — but very effectively — Near & Far Aid helps those on the lowest rungs.

NearFar_logoSince 2000, the unassumingly named, all-volunteer organization has donated more than $14 million to men, women and children living in poverty right in our midst.

Grants go to services providing emergency food, shelter and clothing; economy security programs like job training, financial literacy and affordable housing, and of course education.

The funds come from neighbors who contribute generously — very generously. But raising money is never easy. With tremendous competition from many worthy groups for donations, Near & Far Aid works hard to solicit funds.

They’re helped greatly by the generosity of the Mitchells. The  family — who offer up their store for nearly every charity that asks — holds a special place in their hearts for Near & Far Aid. For 20 years, they’ve hosted an amazing Spring Gala.

Sara BareillesThis year’s event is Friday, March 6. The highlight: an intimate concert with 5-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles. There are also live, silent and fine wine auctions; a spring fashion show, plus cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and supper.

As usual, Bob Mitchell — co-CEO of Mitchells and Richards — will be a “silent” event chair. He lends support, ideas and resources, but takes no credit.

“We truly cherish our 20-year partnership with Near & Far Aid,” Mitchell says. “Our family shares the same mission to give back to the less fortunate, particularly here in our community. We are so excited for this year’s 20th anniversary. We’re confident it will raise a record amount of funds, bringing relief, assistance and hope to those living in poverty.”

The “wealth gap” in this area is enormous. The consequences are real.

But the opportunity to help is priceless.

(For information on Spring Gala tickets, or to volunteer or make a donation, click here.)

The Mitchell family

The Mitchell family


5 responses to “Fairfield County Aid, From Near & Far

  1. March 6 is a Friday.

    • For those unaware — I’m not being redundant. Dan originally posted the date as Saturday, March 6. I corrected him and he changed it. I think the Near & Far event is a wonderful cause, and the Mitchells exemplary citizens. But I still call the store “Ed Mitchell’s.”

  2. It’s perhaps very appropriate that you posted “06880” stories featuring Jimmy Izzo and the Mitchell family so soon after your column asking what comprises or defines the character of Westport.

  3. And, I meant to add–a story featuring the great work of this organization.

  4. My family has a connection to Sara Bareilles.

    Sara grew up in Humboldt County, very Northern California. My brother, Bill, is a teacher in Arcata, California. Sara was a student of Bill’s and had mentioned how talented a singer she was. Sara was still in middle or high school.

    At the time, Kim and I lived in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Dodgers were a client of ours. I found out that the Dodgers seek out people to sing the national anthem before every game. Somehow I mentioned this to my brother who mentioned it to Sara and her parents. They were interested. I gave Bill my contacts at the Dodgers staff, which he passed along to Sara and her parents.

    Sara had to submit a recording and a short resume (I think Sara was in middle or high school at the time) to the Dodgers staff. She passed the test and was invited to sing the national anthem.

    Sara and her family drove to Los Angeles (easily 12 hours) so that she could sing the national anthem at Dodger Stadium. See Item #7:


    We were present at Sara’s Dodgers performance and hope to see Sara again when she’s in Westport.