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.
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.
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.
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.
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.