The coronavirus crisis has crippled so many family-owned restaurants in Southern California, including one that belongs to the family of an Olympian, Sushi Kiyosuzu in Arcadia.
When figure skater and olympic bronze medalist Mirai Nagasu found out her family’s restaurant in Arcadia was struggling, she turned to a friend and a new program for help.
“I think my parents like to shield me from a lot of their hardships... They did mention to me that one of the days, they only got 10 take out orders,” Nagasu said.
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That’s not enough to survive.
“I think that’s when it was my turn to push them to try something new just like they pushed me to work hard at skating,” she said.
Nagasu’s parents, who immigrated from Japan, felt defeated after trying to navigate through loan applications they couldn’t understand. That’s when a high school friend of Nagusu’s introduced them to an initiative launched a month ago in Washington, DC called “Power of Ten.”
“Our role is to step in… Provide for them something that none of the state or federal governments are doing — filling the gap to make sure we can help as many people as we can during this time,” David Wang, of the Power of Ten initiative, said.
Donations pay for mom and pop restaurants, many immigrant-owned like Kiyosuzu, to hire back employees, who then cook meals that are delivered to healthcare workers and community centers.
The funds have paid for hundreds of meals so far and allow Kiyosuzu to keep going for at least the next month.
“Before we didn’t get any money from the government. We thought we couldn’t do it, but she said, ‘Do it, do it!’” Kiyoto Nagasu, Mirai’s father, said.
It was advice from a daughter grateful for the sacrifices her parents made for her.
“To be able to be my parent’s voice is something that I always wanted to do for them… to be able to help my parents means a lot,” Nagasu said.
For now, the Nagusus’ restaurant is the only Los Angeles area restaurant getting help from this program. For more information on the initiative, you can visit www.powerof10initiative.com.