The Giving Fund identifies local families and individuals in need of special assistance during the holiday season.
For 11 years, United Way of Western Connecticut has partnered with The News-Times on The Giving Fund, a community holiday program that identifies local families and individuals in need of financial assistance during the holiday season. Stories are published each week in The News-Times for six weeks, beginning at Thanksgiving. All funds received go directly to fund individual cases.
2023 GIVING FUND CASES
Matthew, the unsung hero of an 11-member family squeezing into a tiny apartment, is faced with one hard decision after another. His wife's illness confines her to home, limiting their income sources. Earlier this year, Matthew's construction job took a hit due to a serious arm surgery, leading to three months of reduced income. He hustled, taking up non-physical jobs like driving for Uber to make ends meet. Just as he returned to construction in October, he contracted a serious bacterial infection, requiring another surgery. A gift of $1,500 would offer much-needed relief from recent setbacks, covering a month's rent during the challenging winter months when bills surge.
Case 2 (This case is fully funded)
Rose, a homeless senior awaiting placement in senior housing after being on waitlists for six months, is hopeful that she will have a home for the holidays. Now in her late 70s, Rose worked tirelessly throughout her life, devoted to her daughter and ensuring her needs were met. Physical difficulties led to her recent retirement. Evicted from a home she'd lived in for over 50 years, Rose left most belongings behind, retaining only what fits in her costly storage unit. A gift of $800.00 would cover a month of car insurance, winter gas expenses, three months of cell phone costs, daily meals, and food for her cat. Additionally, it would settle an emergency veterinarian bill.
Case 3 (This case is fully funded)
Anna is a middle-aged woman who has been grappling with the unexpected loss of her mom and sister. The emotional toll left her unable to cope, resulting in foreclosure on her home and the loss of everything inside. Now determined to rebuild, Anna seeks a fresh start. A $400.00 gift for gas, groceries beyond the food pantry, and a haircut and clothing for job interviews would empower her to take the first steps towards a new life she's confident she'll achieve. Your support can be the catalyst for Anna's journey to recovery.
Patricia and Henry are older adults on a fixed income who were displaced by a devastating house fire. Seeking assistance, they have secured long-term housing but lack holiday cheer after the fire. A generous $1000.00 gift would bring joy by covering a festive meal and providing a new artificial Christmas tree, ornaments, lights, and decorations for their holiday season. Your support can brighten Patricia and Henry's holidays during this challenging time.
Case 5 (This case is fully funded)
Elizabeth, a resilient mother of four boys, has tirelessly worked during the day and attended night college courses to complete her degree, achieving remarkable progress in a short time. Unfortunately, a serious illness has disrupted her financial stability, forcing her to take a two-month leave from work. Depleting her savings to sustain her family of five, Elizabeth faces the end of her medical leave with no income ahead. A $500.00 gift would secure holiday gifts for her sons and cover a month of car insurance, providing vital support during this trying period. Your generosity can profoundly impact Elizabeth's journey.
Samuel is an 81-year-old disabled senior on the verge of eviction from his apartment of over 20 years due to unpaid rent following multiple hospitalizations. Soaring hospital bills are hindering his efforts to find new housing and local assistance. A $1,500 gift will provide a month of rental assistance, granting him essential time to secure new housing and necessary support. Your generosity holds the power to significantly improve Samuel's situation.
Meet Samantha, a young college student thrust into the role of raising her younger sibling after the tragic loss of a parent, who was the sole provider. With no relatives or financial support, Samantha juggles multiple jobs to make ends meet while pursuing her education. Now facing the urgent need to replace her fuel tank as winter approaches, a gift of $1,500 would cover the down payment, easing the strain on this resilient young family. Your support can make a crucial difference for Samantha and her sibling.
Haley is a young single mother and survivor of domestic violence currently in temporary housing with her three-year-old son, Joshua. Dedicated to rebuilding her life, Haley is focused on completing her GED and securing employment. However, living in a rural area without public transportation presents challenges in finding affordable child care for Joshua while she attends school. A $1,500 gift will aid in purchasing a vehicle and enrolling Joshua in a childcare program, offering crucial support for Haley's journey towards stability.
Meet Sara, a survivor of physical and emotional abuse, alcoholism, and profound losses. She has dedicated her life to serving as a beacon of strength and hope for those on the path to sobriety, but Sara has grappled with illnesses these past few years, resulting in overwhelming debt and financial insecurity. A $1,000 gift will bring joy to Sara and her children, enabling them to buy new clothes and shoes while covering car insurance and tax bills. Your generosity has the power to brighten Sara's journey through these challenging times.
Meet Patrick, a 61-year-old man grappling with financial challenges and housing instability after a heart attack during the COVID-19 pandemic and a recent cancer diagnosis. Despite physical limitations and hospitalizations, Patrick maintains his optimism while undergoing strenuous chemotherapy treatments with numerous side effects. Falling behind on local taxes, electric bills, car payments, and Homeowner's Association fees due to minimal income and declining health, Patrick faces a challenging time. A $1,500 gift will cover past due bills, offering crucial relief in this difficult chapter of his life. Your generosity can make a significant impact on Patrick's journey.
Case 11 (This case is fully funded)
Meet Eleanor, who recently faced two hospitalizations and is undergoing diagnostic testing to understand her compromised health. Formerly working part-time to supplement Social Security benefits, Eleanor struggles on a fixed income, relying on public transportation for many medical appointments. A gift of $250 will cover three 30-day bus passes and the opportunity for Eleanor to treat herself to something special this holiday season.
Amanda, a New Milford native, and her husband John are proud parents of a 1-year-old son. Facing increased housing and basic needs costs during the COVID-19 pandemic, they chose to live with Amanda's parents to save money. Thanks to Habitat for Humanity's Homebuyer's program, they have now obtained approval for a new home and will be moving in this month. However, the financial responsibilities of homeownership still pose a challenge for the young couple. A gift of $1,500 will help them fund utility deposits and other essential items needed to settle into their new home.
David, Carter, and Douglas--along with their parents--received generous support from the Giving Fund in 2020. The families were deeply moved by the love and concern shown by our community. Not only are the parents close friends, but they also provide mutual support and comfort to each other, serving as strong advocates for their sons, all of whom have disabilities. Living in a group home and relying on state assistance, the sons receive only a small discretionary allowance from their monthly Social Security Disability checks. A gift of $1,000 will provide David, Carter, and Douglas with added enrichment activities, including daily art supplies and activities outside of the group home like bowling, a movie, and a holiday dinner.
Case 14 (This case is fully funded)
Maureen, a senior citizen, once enjoyed a stable life. More recently, she was working diligently to cover rent and recurring expenses, but the store where she worked abruptly closed. As a result, she fell behind on rent and was ultimately evicted from her home of 20 years. For the past seven months, Maureen has been living out of her car, forming connections with other women experiencing homelessness. A generous gift of $1,125.00 will provide Maureen and a few of these women with $50.00 gas cards, a $25.00 voucher to a local restaurant for a shared holiday meal, and essential items like warm blankets and hats. These thoughtful gifts are sure to brighten their holidays, offering a sense of hope and security this holiday season.
Sadie, a remarkable healthcare worker and mother of two young girls aged 5 and 7, is devoted to her family. Although she works overnight shifts, Sadie personally takes her children to school in the morning and is home when they return. She is steadfast in creating a stable and nurturing environment. Sadie faces significant challenges due to her HIV/AIDS status and limited income. Managing daily expenses and providing basics necessities for her family is a struggle. A generous gift of $1,500 will help Sadie in covering back rent, electricity, gas, and other bills. This support will help alleviate the financial burden and her anxiety over supporting her children.
Case 16 (this case is fully funded)
Meet Brenda, a senior citizen confronting various health challenges, compounded by her HIV/AIDS status. Battling declining health and the recent loss of her car, Brenda often finds it difficult to step outside her home. Her small apartment becomes sweltering in the summer and frigid in the winter, adding to the hurdles she faces. A generous gift of $1,500 will help her acquire a much-needed air conditioner and a space heater, transforming her small apartment into a haven of comfort. Additionally, the gift will cover the cost of a handyman to address various repair needs in her home, further enhancing Brenda's living conditions.
Mary is a devoted grandmother who has taken on the loving responsibility of raising her grandchildren – a 14-year-old boy and a 3-year-old boy who is autistic. With her daughter facing health issues, Mary has assumed the complete role of providing for her entire family, offering love, guidance, and a nurturing home. However, the financial and physical challenges of raising a 3-year-old and a teenager have taken a toll on her. A gift of $1,500 will help cover her mounting utilities, telephone, and rent bills, providing some relief amid the challenges she faces. Your generosity will help Mary continue to provide a stable and caring home for her grandchildren.
Louis, a dedicated son, took on the sole responsibility of caring for his elderly mother until her recent passing. Grappling with grief and extensive pre-existing health issues, Louis faced circumstances that forced him to leave his home and move to a smaller apartment. A generous gift of $1,500 will enable him to acquire items needed to furnish his new home, providing comfort and a sense of stability during a challenging period of transition.
Meet Helen, a retiree facing a multitude of serious health problems, including the HIV/AIDS virus. Helen's health struggles have left her without the strength to leave her home on many days. Her residence is in serious disrepair, and a cleaning service would greatly contribute to creating a clean and safe environment for her. A gift of $1,500 will assist Helen in hiring a handyman and a cleaning service to make her home healthier and more livable. Additionally, it will provide support in covering some of her mounting bills. Your generosity can help improve the quality of life for Helen during these challenging times.
Meet Coach Fred, the dedicated leader of the "Johnson School Unified Sports" a program focused on chronic disease prevention through physical activity and lifestyle changes, particularly within the high-risk group of children with intellectual disabilities. This inclusive sports program, under Coach Fred's guidance, prepares athletes with special needs to participate in future Special Olympics as adults. A generous gift of $1,500.00 will cover the expenses of an upcoming field trip, with transportation being the most significant cost. This contribution will fund two buses and a wheelchair-accessible van, along with adequate staffing for the second half of the year, ensuring the continuation of the Unified Sports program. Your support can play a vital role in sustaining this impactful initiative.
Meet Maddie, a devoted full-time student who also works part-time to make ends meet and support her beloved daughter, Sadie. Currently facing significant financial struggles, Maddie has made the difficult decision to move in with her mother to ensure she can afford to send Sadie to the YMCA for the child care she needs. A gift of $1,000 will not only help her cover her immediate financial needs but also allow her to create a special and memorable holiday for her daughter, Sadie. Your support through the Giving Fund can bring warmth and joy to their hearts during these challenging times.
Meet Madison and her son Lucas, who have been facing challenging times lately. Madison has used up her savings to cover court fees necessary to gain protective custody of her son, Lucas. Additionally, Lucas has been attending regular therapy sessions, further straining their finances. A gift of $1,000 can help Madison and Lucas navigate their financial difficulties and make the holidays a little brighter. Your support can bring comfort and joy to this family during a trying time in their lives.
Ava and her young son, Daniel, have faced significant challenges as a family after Daniel's father was deported, leaving them alone in a new country with limited financial support. Ava works tirelessly in a full-time cleaning job, but making ends meet has proven to be an uphill battle. Ava has been doing her best to provide for Daniel, but she has fallen behind on her childcare payments. A gift of $1,000 can help alleviate the financial burden on Ava and enable her to catch up on the missed childcare payments, ensuring that Daniel receives care while she works.
Meet Allysa and her 4-year-old daughter, Mila, who have had to leave their home due to domestic violence. In addition to this traumatic experience, Allysa also suffered a serious car accident which left her with both physical and emotional scars. A gift of $1,500 can make a significant difference in their lives by covering basic needs such as food, clothing for Mila, and funds for a deposit on an apartment of their own. Your support can provide them with the stability and security they need during this trying time.
Leslie, a devoted single mother, is facing the distinctive challenges of raising a daughter with autism. To ensure her daughter's safe transportation to school and therapy sessions, she had to secure a loan for a dependable car. However, despite this significant step forward, the financial strain continues to weigh heavily on Leslie's shoulders. A gift of $1,500 will help cover the cost of specialized therapy sessions crucial for her daughter's development. Additionally, it will help alleviate the financial pressures associated with daily living expenses, granting Leslie the peace of mind to focus on her daughter's well-being and needs.
Evelyn has been facing a series of significant challenges, including the heart-wrenching loss of her daughter -- leaving her grandsons, Samuel and William, without a mother. This tragedy has had a profound impact on the family, and Evelyn is working tirelessly to provide a stable and loving environment for her grandsons. A gift of $1,000 will help cover crucial living expenses and ensure that Samuel and William receive the ongoing mental health support they need as they navigate the loss of their mother. Your kindness can make a meaningful difference during this difficult time.
Meet James, a man in his late 60s who is grappling with the challenges of living with a chronic mental illness. In addition to his health struggles, James has recently faced unexpected financial burdens, including car repairs and mounting medical bills. A gift of $500 will cover essential car repairs and help alleviate the burden of medical expenses.
Charlotte is a 40-year-old single woman currently facing homelessness during a severe shortage of affordable housing. Despite having a housing voucher, she cannot find an apartment due to her limited income. The financial demands of landlords, particularly security deposits and advance rent payments, present daunting obstacles. A gift of $1,500 will offer Rachel a lifeline and enable her to cover the necessary deposits and acquire essential furniture and household items for her first apartment, paving the way for a brighter and more stable future.
Sophia, displaying incredible bravery, freed herself and her children, Emma and Jackson, from a perilous domestic violence situation. While she found a safe apartment for her family, she continues to grapple with overwhelming financial challenges. A gift of $1,500 will play a vital role in covering essential living expenses like utility bills, groceries, and transportation costs. This support will significantly assist Sophia in her job search and ensure that Emma and Jackson can safely attend school, providing them with the stability they urgently need.
Abigail, a 43-year-old single mother, was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer six months ago. Her dedication to maintaining a stable life for her children has never wavered, but the financial strain of affording ongoing cancer treatments while trying to make ends meet has been overwhelming. A gift of $1,500 will help ease this burden by covering her monthly rent expenses during this challenging time.
Doris, a hardworking and loving grandmother, recently became the primary caretaker for her two young grandsons. Unfortunately, her limited income has taken a toll on their financial stability, impacting her ability to cover rent, utility bills, and transportation expenses. A gift of $1,500 will provide essential support, helping to cover some of their bills, transportation costs, and other necessities.
Sara, a 27-year-old woman, received a devastating leukemia diagnosis in December 2021 while going through a heart-wrenching divorce. Since then, her health struggles have prevented her from working, and she has faced numerous hospitalizations due to medical complications. A gift of $1,500 will provide vital assistance by helping to cover some of her past-due rent and allow her to purchase groceries. Your support will make a significant difference in Sara's journey towards recovery and stability.
Luis and Maria are starting a new chapter in their lives following a perilous journey from Honduras to the United States in search of a brighter future for their three children. They are working tirelessly to build a stable life, but the road is tough. A gift of $1,500 will make a meaningful impact on their quest for financial stability, helping them cover essential expenses like groceries, clothing, and transportation in their new home.
Lori, a mother of two young children, has been on a challenging journey since her breast cancer diagnosis three years ago. Her battle has taken an even tougher turn since the cancer has spread to her bones. This emotional and financial struggle has taken a toll on her and her family, especially with two kids under the age of 10 who rely on her support and care. A gift of $1,500 will help cover her transportation expenses to and from medical appointments and ensure that her family has groceries for the month.
Stephanie, a 45-year-old single mother of two young children, is facing her third battle with cancer within the past five years. Her emotional and financial journey has been incredibly challenging, as she experienced periods of wellness only to be diagnosed again, this time in stage 4. Adding to her difficulties, Stephanie was recently involved in a serious auto accident which totaled her car. This loss has made it exceptionally challenging for her to get to her crucial medical appointments. A gift of $1,500 will provide invaluable support by helping Stephanie cover her overdue rent and transportation to and from medical treatments. Your generosity will bring comfort and relief to Stephanie during this trying time.
Clara, a single mother of three young girls, all under the age of 8, is facing a daunting battle with leukemia and is currently undergoing extensive treatment. As she focuses on her health and recovery, she grapples with the financial strain of her medical expenses and supporting her children. A gift of $1,500 will help cover essential expenses such as rent and basic necessities for her children, allowing Clara to concentrate on her treatment and well-being during this challenging time.