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AAPI Heritage Month: Mets, Partners Give Out $10,000 Grants To Asian-Owned Businesses In New York City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The New York Mets have been struggling to score runs of late, but off the field they hit one out of the park Monday, showing their support for small businesses in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

There was applause, fist bumps, and big smiles at Citi Field as Mr. and Mrs. Met stood beside team president Sandy Alderson to celebrate and prop up Asian-owned small business in the city.

"We hope the grants you received today from Fiserv will help you as you have weathered the pandemic and now position yourselves for reopening," Alderson said.

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Fiserv, a powerful partner of the Mets, granted 10 businesses $10,000 each, CBS2's Vanessa Murdock reported. Cindy Wen is the company's senior vice president of finance.

"We know so many small businesses have been impacted by the pandemic, particularly Asian-owned small business. In the wave of the violence and events of the last, we felt at our company it was really important to give back to the community," Wen said.

Recipients also got handed customized jerseys and four tickets to a game.

One of them, Coffee Project in Long Island City, is a retail shop, roastery and academy.

"It was pretty scary," said Coffee Project NY founder Chi Sum Ngai.

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Ngai said the company took it day by day during the worst of the pandemic. Now, more than a year later, "We still have entire team, even more people, more locations."

She said the grant is a big bonus for her and her employees.

"When this money came in, I'm like um ... It's time to put in thought how do we make workspace more efficient. It's better for everyone," Ngai said.

Eric Sze, chef and owner of 886 in the East Village, told CBS2 that early in the pandemic 886, along with other restaurants, donated 13,000 bento boxes to front-line workers. Sze said getting $10,000 means more content for Instagram, the only place he markets his Taiwanese restaurant.

"You have to pay somebody if you want to have something that's more sustainable a little bit more elegant and refined," Sze said.

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Jeremiah Stone, owner of Contra on the Lower East Side, said more money will go into improving the outdoor dining experience, to capitalize this summer.

"It's really nice to be recognized and understand a separate set of struggles that we go through," Stone said.

"This month is extremely important for us to tell you, hey, we're part of this," Ngai said.

Ngai said these businesses want to build community and make space for everyone, all year round.

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