Giving Fund: Danbury-area mom who cares for daughter with disabilities needs help with groceries

In its 11th year, The Giving Fund is a partnership between The News-Times and United Way of Western Connecticut that gives readers the opportunity to give directly to those in the greatest need this holiday season.

In its 11th year, The Giving Fund is a partnership between The News-Times and United Way of Western Connecticut that gives readers the opportunity to give directly to those in the greatest need this holiday season.

Hearst Connecticut Media

DANBURY — Shelly is not afraid of a challenge and has overcome many obstacles in her life, including acting as the primary caregiver for her oldest daughter who has disabilities.

As a friend said of Shelly, “When things look impossible, she relies on faith to get her through.”

Shelly lives with her daughter and her three other children. The family gets by on a consistently tight budget, but Shelly always makes sure her bills are paid in full and on time.

But as time goes on and prices rise with inflation, that is becoming harder to make happen each month.  

Shelley is one of the Danbury-area residents sponsored by the United Way of Western Connecticut this holiday season through its annual Giving Fund.

A gift of $800 would give Shelly the breathing room to purchase groceries and other household necessities and make it a happy holiday season for her family.

In its 11th year, The Giving Fund is a partnership between The News-Times and United Way of Western Connecticut that gives readers the opportunity to give directly to those in the greatest need this holiday season.

The Giving Fund has raised more than $1 million for families in need over the past decade. United Way does not take any fees to administer the program for The News-Times. This means that 100 percent of your donation goes to help the person described in the case you choose.

A donation made to the Giving Fund can make an "immediate difference in the lives of our neighbors," said Isabel Almeida, president of United Way of Western Connecticut.

Over the holiday season, The News-Times is presenting new cases describing a neighbor in need. Names are changed to protect the privacy of individuals and families.

Donations may be made at If a case becomes fully funded, additional donations will be used to support other cases.

This week’s cases are:

Case #27: As the temperatures drop, Nora’s living situation is becoming more concerning. This past year, she has been living in her car, which has begun to fall apart. One of the doors doesn’t close, and now the inside of her car and her only form of shelter is getting flooded. An older adult, Nora relies on her fixed income to buy gas to keep the car and its heat running and to purchase food. A gift of $1,500 would allow Nora to get the car repairs she needs and keep her safe during the upcoming winter.

Case #28: Between raising five children on her own, caring for her sick father and working full time, Sage has fallen behind on car maintenance. Recently, she moved her family out of a shelter and into a more permanent home, which also meant taking on more bills. At the same time, her father fell ill and she became his primary caretaker. A gift of $1,500 would cover the cost of the maintenance needed to keep Sage's car running and provide a reliable source of transportation for the family.

Case #29: Chronic pain greatly affects Debbie’s day-to-day life. Muscle aches, shooting pain, weakness and numbness are just a few of the side effects of a medical condition. The pain has gotten progressively worse, impacting her ability to keep up with the demands of her part-time job. Her doctor has decided to perform back surgery in hopes of providing her some relief, but this would leave Debbie without the income she relies on. A gift of $800 would alleviate some of the financial stress she’ll be under and give Debbie peace of mind during her healing process.

Case #30: This is the case for Shelly that is described above.

Case #31: The holidays are a quiet time of year for Lenny. With one brother in a nursing home and the other living far away, he hasn’t seen most of his family in nearly five years. People who know him describe him as a private older gentleman who enjoys his solitude and shies away from asking his community for help. One of the most pressing issues in his life is maintaining his home, which is 83 years old. Living on a fixed income makes the costs even harder to cover. A gift of $300 would help Lenny purchase the new window blinds he needs.

Case #32: When a relative needed help, the Smith family stepped up with open arms. Now, their family of four has become a family of five by adding another child to their household. The stress they were already experiencing has grown, making it difficult to raise a healthy family despite the parents' hard work. A gift of $500 would allow the Smiths to put healthy food on their table, buy gas and stretch their budget for some of the kids' other needs.

Case #33: This holiday season hasn’t been easy for Faith. Battling a recent cancer diagnosis and experiencing the loss of two family members has taken a toll on her. With Faith unable to work, her finances are a growing concern while she applies for disability to cover her monthly expenses. One of her largest bills is the payment for her car, which she will need as she travels to undergo treatment. A gift of $1,000 would cover five months of car insurance and allow Faith to focus on her emotional and physical recovery.

Case #34: After she lost her husband last year, Ruby began working as much as possible to support herself and her daughter. As a person with a disability, this has never been easy for Ruby. Despite the obstacles, she continues to volunteer and give back every chance she gets. Her community recognizes Ruby as someone with a big heart who deserves a little extra kindness this year. A gift of $1,284 would cover two months of mortgage payments for the home she worked hard to create with her family.

Case #35: The business she dedicated many years of her life to has closed its doors, leaving Cindy unemployed after 23 years of hard work. Her job search has been unsuccessful and discouraging. Her rent is high (and she has been on a wait list for senior housing for two years), and it has made stretching an already tight budget even more difficult. A gift of $500 would give Cindy a break while she pursues job interviews and tries to regain confidence.

Case #36: Losing his job has impacted Ray’s family greatly. Raising two young boys has become even harder than before. One son has health issues that require frequent doctor’s visits and additional costs. A gift of $1,500 would give Ray the opportunity to pay some bills, buy Christmas gifts and provide a sense of relief as he tries to get his career back on track.

Case #37: Hope has dealt with many struggles in her young life, including domestic violence, the loss of her mother and boyfriend to drug overdoses, and chronic homelessness. After losing her job as a home caretaker, Hope wants to get her GED and pursue a degree in social work. For now, one of the biggest barriers to reaching her goals is the expense of registering her car. A gift of $1,500 would help Hope to register her car, buy new clothes and keep up with payments on the home where she now lives.

Case #38: It hasn’t always been easy for Joy and her son. After living in their car, they finally received assistance to get a home. But because Joy is unable to work due to an illness, their income is limited. Her medical condition worsened recently, leading to extreme weight loss and the need for monthly infusions. She relies on Social Security disability payments to get by. But Joy doesn’t have enough to cover other expenses such as car repairs or new clothing. A gift of $1,500 would allow Joy to purchase the items she and her son need but often go without.