The Giving Fund: Making a donation can ‘lessen the burden’ for someone in need of assistance

Volunteers including Laura Devens at Person-to-Person work to prepare bags of food for pickups, Friday, November 19, 2021, at their food pantry in Darien, Conn.

Volunteers including Laura Devens at Person-to-Person work to prepare bags of food for pickups, Friday, November 19, 2021, at their food pantry in Darien, Conn.

File / Erik Trautmann / Hearst Connecticut Media

Winter can be a difficult time to cover the bills — with high costs for heating, electricity and food. And families who are facing personal or medical struggles often find themselves falling behind on their bills.

The Giving Fund, now in its 38th year, offers readers the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people in the area.

Donations made to The Giving Fund directly benefit two local nonprofits, Greenwich-based Family Centers and Darien-based Person to Person, which both help struggling families in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien and throughout lower Fairfield County.

On Sundays and Thursdays in the winter season, The Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time and The Darien Times are printing the stories of area residents who need a helping hand.

In our stories today, a mother needs help paying for transportation to take her 7-year-old son for chemotherapy; a single father of two young boys is having problems putting food on the table; a mother of two is falling behind on bills after an unexpected surgery; and a long-term HIV survivor needs to pay for car repairs so he can get to medical appointments.

“We have a generous community, we hope the Giving Fund will lessen the burden that many of our neighbors feel at this difficult time,” said William Brucker, chief advancement officer at Family Centers.

The Giving Fund shows that a small donation can make a big difference in the life of someone who is struggling and in need of assistance, Brucker said.

The stories

Each case in the Giving Fund includes an estimated dollar amount to help an individual or family tackle everyday challenges. The names in the stories have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.

Case #490: Mery survived a car accident when she was pregnant. Her daughter is now 3 and attends regular speech therapy. Unfortunately, Mery’s husband lost his job and is looking for new opportunities to support his family. He became depressed when he realized that without a job, paying for speech therapy would stretch their savings. A gift of $500 would help this family cover their needs and pay bills that have been accumulating during this challenging time.

Case #491: Barbara is a single mom who has anxiety and depression due to past domestic violence. She now cares for her 6- and 2-year-old daughters and her 11- and 5-year-old brothers who recently arrived in the U.S. Barbara is a hard worker and often works the night shifts and holidays because her salary is not enough to provide enough food or clothes for the kids. Barbara struggles to manage her expenses and basic needs for the kids. A gift of $800 would reduce her anxiety and help her cover some of her bills.

Case #492: Jimmy is a single father of two young boys who works in construction and does other small jobs to earn extra money to pay rent and other living expenses. Unfortunately, he is experiencing financial difficulties and problems with his SNAP benefits. As a result, he is struggling to pay for groceries. A gift of $500 would help Jimmy cover his grocery bill until he can get his SNAP benefits reactivated.

Case #493: Gio is an HIV long-term survivor who has been dealing with a serious domestic violence case involving a former partner. He needs assistance to pay for repairs to his car, which he uses to attend his medical appointments and mental health therapy sessions. He would benefit greatly from a donation of $600.

Case #494: Ana is a single mother of four children, ages 17, 14, 8 and 7. Two months ago, her 7-year-old son was diagnosed with leukemia, and Ana had to stop working to care for him. He goes for chemotherapy twice a week in New Haven, and Ana pays $80 in transportation costs for each trip. Also, she pays about $300 a week for medicine. Ana is finding it hard to pay for rent, utilities and food, as well as expenses related to the little boy’s illness. A $800 gift would alleviate Ana’s economical struggles during this hard time.

Case #495: Yudy is married, with two children, ages 3 and 1, and works at Costco. The family’s landlord ordered them to move out with little notice. They found a new apartment but the rent is much higher. Yudy and her husband are working extra hours to make ends meet. The family’s immigration status does not allow them to receive government financial assistance. A gift of $800 would provide some stability for this family and help them put food on the table.

Case #496: Janet and her husband have five daughters whom they have always worked hard to support. In the past two years, they have struggled to regain their footing after losing their employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are struggling to cover the most basic expenses, including electricity and heat. A gift of $500 would help Janet pay off some of their bills.

Case #497: Jackie, who is a mother of two, recently experienced some serious health issues, including an unexpected surgery that left her unable to work. The impact of her health problems has been felt financially as well as emotionally and physically. While Jackie continues to battle her health issues, a gift of $500 would help her cover some bills.

Case #498: Katie is a cancer survivor who has fallen seriously ill recently and fears the cancer has returned. She is unable to have an MRI because her insurance company refuses to reimburse the costs. Katie lives with her husband and two adult children with mental illnesses. She is having a difficult time making ends meet while saving for her medical expenses. A gift of $500 would help Katie at this difficult time.

Case #499: Sara is a single mother of two children who works two jobs. She recently was forced to quit one of her jobs because of a sudden lack of child care. As a result, Sara is having difficulty providing for basic needs for her family. A gift of $250 would allow Sara to purchase heating oil to keep her apartment warm.

All the Giving Fund cases will be listed online. To make a donation online, visit https://givingfund .isecuresites.com/.