Milford business owner rallies community for Ukraine

MILFORD — Weeks of watching footage of devastation in Ukraine, Nina Ortiz has fired up her passion to help others step up a gear.

Ortiz, owner of Seaside Nutrition, is hosting a benefit event, Seaside Stands with Ukraine, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at his location at 50 Naugatuck Ave., which features smoothies, shakes, healthy teas and fitness classes. .

“Things may not be easy here now, but when you look at what’s going on there – people leaving their homes, families separated, maybe forever – it puts everything into perspective,” he said. Ortiz said. “The lives of millions of people are turned upside down. As a mom, a parent with the means to help, I had to do something.

Beachside stalls with Ukraine will include vendors, a silent auction, fitness classes and many of Ortiz’s patented healthy drinks – with proceeds from sales going to Save the Children, which helps families affected by the invasion of its neighbor by Russia.

Ortiz has started hosting various fundraisers and collections since the pandemic began.

It started, according to Ortiz, by giving donations of shakes and teas to frontline workers through his front window when most stores were closed in the early months of the pandemic.

In the months that followed, Ortiz said she organized donation drives for the Smilow Cancer Center, the Purple Pantry and various animal hospitals in the city.

Seaside Stands with Ukraine is different, Ortiz said, because she decided to turn what started as a simple donation of a portion of shake and tea sales into an event that would bring together dozens of businesses and donors.

“It became a way to bring the whole community together to do something positive,” Ortiz said.

“During COVID a lot of us local businesses have taken a hit, so to see other businesses like mine coming together and doing something good for someone else is amazing,” he said. -she adds. “It’s something I really wanted to do.”

The auction will include gift cards, gift baskets and artwork. Silent auction donors include Hair to Inspire, Papa’s Pizza, Founder’s House, Bridge House Restaurant, Hair of the Dog, Roz Petalz Studio, Bohemian High and Walk About Yoga.

She said she hoped to have up to 20 donations when she designed the benefit event. She said she quickly exceeded that number and was now considering 50 donations for the auction.

“It’s really amazing,” Ortiz said.

Ortiz has Seaside Nutrition for about three years. His dive into small business ownership came after years as a personal trainer and manager at fitness centers such as Crunch Fitness and iLoveKickboxing. His success in Milford saw him soon open a second store, Four Corners Nutrition, on Federal Road in Brookfield.

“My goal is to be healthy and happy, and I’m always working to bring that to everyone who comes here,” Ortiz said. “Helping people has always been one of my passions. »

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