Giving Fund: Donations go directly to help families in need in Greenwich, Stamford community

As we move into December, the holiday spirit is in the air. And so is the spirit of sharing. 

With that mood in mind, we are continuing our annual Giving Fund and asking residents to make donations to help the needy members of our community.

Now in its 39th year, the Giving Fund tells the stories of local residents in need of assistance. Small monetary donations can cover the cost of daily necessities that many of us may take for granted.

The stories of these residents in need will be published twice a week — every Thursday and Sunday — in The Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time and weekly in the Darien Times throughout the holiday season.

The beneficiaries of the Giving Fund are clients at Greenwich-based Family Centers and Darien-based Person to Person, two nonprofits that run programs to help people in need in lower Fairfield County. 

“These are actual people living here, people who our readers may know,” said Bill Brucker, chief advancement officer at Family Centers. The donations can make a big difference in their lives during this holiday season, he said. 

Every dollar donated goes directly to a resident. Last year, the Giving Fund raised a total of $97,128, which was all donated by readers.

"The Giving Fund gives us the opportunity to reach more people and to make a greater difference," said Claudine Jean-Baptiste, a licensed clinical social worker and the Norwalk casework supervisor for Person to Person. 

"It is a program that we look forward to as an organization. The stories are real, true and the difference the funds make are as real and true," she said.

How to donate

To make a donation, visit https://givingfund.isecuresites.com/product/GIVING-FUND/General-Giving-Fund?ID=2865.

Each case in the Giving Fund includes an estimated dollar amount to help an individual or family tackle everyday challenges such as rent payments, child care costs and transportation during this holiday season.

The names in the stories have been changed to protect the person's privacy. The Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time and The Darien Times sponsor The Giving Fund in partnership with Family Centers and Person-to-Person.

Case 320: John and his brother live with their dad in a two-bedroom apartment. Dad sold their videogames/Xbox so that they could make rent last month. Mom is living in another country and is very sick with stomach cancer. A gift of $800 would allow dad to pay the rent and send money to support mom’s treatment.

Case 321: Laura is one of five children living in a two-bedroom apartment with her grandma, who is unable to work because of a disability. Laura needs warmer clothes and shoes for herself and for her siblings this winter. A gift of $500 would allow grandma to provide these items for her grandchildren.

Case 322: Arianna is a single mother of two daughters, with the youngest less than a year old.  Her pregnancy became high risk and Arianna was unable to work for much of it.  As a result, she has fallen behind on her bills even though she is now back to work. A gift of $400 would help Arianna give a Christmas holiday for her daughters.

Case 323: Maria is the mother of a young child who works a seasonal job with not enough hours to pay her bills. Because of her limited income, Maria and her child have been living with extended family in a very small house. A gift of $500 would help toward a security deposit on her own place, allowing Maria to have the space, independence and intimacy she needs with her child.

Case 324: LG is the mother of four children. The family is experiencing hard times because of domestic violence. The main provider is out of the home because of a restraining order. While LG finds a job and adjusts to her new living situation, she is struggling to pay her bills. A donation of $300 would give her some relief while she reorganizes her life.

Case 325: PS is a separated mother of two, and one of her children has a disability. PS works hard; however, it is hard for her to pay all her bills. She needs to pay her car insurance. She uses the car to get to work and to drive her child to her therapies and other services. A donation of $250 would allow PS to cover her car insurance and a few maintenance needs.

Case 326: RM and her husband are parents of four children, including newborn twins. One of the twins has some serious medical problems and has been hospitalized since birth. It has been emotionally difficult for the family as well as economically demanding. A donation of $300 would help relieve some of the transportation expenses for the family.

Case 327: SS and her two children are facing homelessness. SS is trying to find a place to rent, but it is difficult in today’s market. She runs a little online business. However, without a place to live, it’s hard to move her business. A donation of $300 would be a great support to this family.

Case 328: Felicia works part-time at a pharmacy while raising her 9-year-old daughter. A single parent, she does not have a car and struggles to get to work. Her mother lived with them until recently, but was hospitalized and is now in a care home. Felicia is unable to work as many hours and has fallen behind on her bills. Please consider a gift of $500 so this hard-working mother can keep her lights and heat on for Christmas.

Case 329: Mirna lives with her mother and her autistic sister in an apartment in Stamford. Her mom is unable to work because of limitations she has had since she was a child. She supports Mirna and the family with a small disability check, but they are now facing eviction from their Section 8 housing.  A gift of $500 would help this family avoid eviction this Christmas.