How COVID-19 brought 7 greater Danbury families to the brink

DANBURY - When Jane was laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic, she was already struggling to help her five children with their distance learning studies.

Then Jane was told she had to leave her apartment because the landlord planned to sell the house.

The good news is Jane has found a new apartment. The bad news is she doesn’t have the $2,800 for the security deposit and the first two months’ rent.

A gift of any amount would help Jane meet this emergency need for her family.

Jane and her children are among the needy families in the Danbury area that The Giving Fund is trying to help this holiday season. The Giving Fund is a nine-year partnership between The News-Times and the United Way of Western Connecticut.

Readers have donated $850,000 to families in need since the program started.

“Making a difference in the lives of our neighbors is not only the right thing to do, it is essential to the long-term vitality of our community,” said Kim Morgan, CEO of United Way of Western Connecticut.

This week, The News-Times features a new set of families in need. Names are changed to protect privacy. Descriptions of family situations are provided by local charities.

Donations may be made online at https://www.uwwesternct.org/thegivingfund or be mailed to United Way of Western Connecticut, 301 Main Street, Suite 2-5, Danbury, CT 06810. Checks should be made payable to The Giving Fund c/o United Way.

If a family’s need becomes fully funded, additional donations given will be used to support other cases.

This week’s families are:

#199 Dorothy, a mom of four young boys, is going through a divorce. Having been a stay-at-home mom for the last ten years, she is having difficulty adjusting to her new life. Her estranged husband sparingly gives money for the children’s needs. The pandemic has complicated Dorothy’s plans to go to school to learn new skills for a career. A gift of $1,300 will allow Dorothy to pay her rent, her bills, and leave money to buy new clothes for her growing children.

#200 Andrea came to the United States to work for an American family as a full-time live-in nanny. She has two young children back in her home country who financially depend on her. During her employment she was exploited by the family. She was expected to work long hours with no breaks or days off, and she was not given a room of her own. Andrea did not feel this was right and left. She is now living in a temporary home while she looks for a new job. A gift of $1,200 would help support Andrea and her basic needs during this transitional period.

#201 Betty is a single mother of a 17-year-old daughter who excels in high school. Betty has relied on her parents to supplement Betty’s work income. Betty lost her job when the pandemic forced the business she worked for to close. Betty’s mom also lost her job. Her parents can no longer help the way they have in the past. Betty is struggling to pay bills such as insurance, utilities, food, and gas, but her biggest concern is keeping a roof over their heads. A gift of $1,500 would pay the rent for December.

#202 Steven is struggling to find employment. He has a history of anxiety and depression and is experiencing an increase in stressors due to the pandemic. Steven lives with his family, which is also struggling financially due to medical concerns. Steven is facing food insecurity and is afraid for his physical and mental health. A gift of $500 will go toward healthy food to combat food insecurity and poor nutrition.

#203 Jessica is raising her daughter Gina by herself while Gina’s father is incarcerated. Because schools are virtual most of the time, childcare costs have increased, and Jessica is having trouble covering the expense. She gets a small childcare subsidy from state. A gift of $1,500 would help Jessica to pay for Gina’s care and enable her daughter to stay at a quality childcare center.

#204 is Jane’s story above.

#205 Rachel and her young adult son Oswald are coping with diabetes and are having a difficult time paying for medication. Rachel has been unable to work as much as she usually does due to the pandemic, and she has fallen behind on the rent. A gift of $2,200 would help Rachel and Oswald with the rent they have fallen behind on these past ten months of the pandemic.