Bridgeport giving fund: $400 for college textbooks needed

December 7, 2017 GMT

Every Thursday through the end of the year, the Connecticut Post will publish short stories about local families and people in need of a helping hand. The names of those included have been changed to protect their privacy.

Each case will include an estimated dollar amount that would help them face everyday challenges like rent payments, child care costs and transportation. Every dollar donated to the Giving Fund goes directly to the clients in need.

Case 021. Tara is a client of LifeBridge. She is a participant in TechConnections and is one of the youth who have graduated and gone on to a four-year college. Tara is one of many siblings and her mother works, but more often than not, her mother’s salary only covers bills and family essentials. Tara is able to afford school through Pell Grants and student loans, but often has to buy books on an as-needed basis, or borrow them from classmates. Tara’s ability to succeed in higher education would increase greatly if she were able to afford her own books. A gift of $400 would allow Tara the opportunity to sell those books back and apply the credit to next year’s balance, making it easier for her to purchase books on an ongoing basis.

Case 022. Jan is currently a biology major at Housatonic Community College and is planning on transferring to Southern Connecticut State University to finish his degree. Once finished, he is interested in applying to the University of Bridgeport for the Physical Assistant program. Because of his intensive study schedule, he is only able to work a part-time job as a tiler for a friend’s dad. While he enjoys the work, his hours are not regular, and sometimes he is without work for two weeks at a time. Jan’s major financial worries are about his car, which he relies on to get from home to school and work. He has an older vehicle that needs major work, and currently doesn’t have the funds to make the repairs. A gift of $500 would allow Jan to properly repair his car so he can continue to attend school and support himself with his part-time work.

Case 023. Joel was born and raised in Bridgeport, and was originally placed in a nursing home because he needed extensive care because of congestive heart failure. He lived in the nursing home for three years and recently transitioned back into the community with in-home assistance. While in the nursing home, Joel gained a significant amount of weight because the amount of exercise he could do was limited because of his physical condition. Joel is thrilled and extremely grateful to be living in the community but he is still limited and dealing with restrictions due to his current weight. Joel is in need of a gift of $488.02 to purchase a one-year gym membership to LA Fitness. Joel is a grandfather of three and is looking forward to being able to play and run around with the children in the playground that is across the street from his new home.

Case 024. Brenda is a Bridgeport mother of three from ages 6 to 14, all of whom have physical, mental and developmental challenges. She dutifully brings them to each of their frequent appointments making sure their needs are met. She herself survived years of her own struggles being abused and trafficked for labor but now has her own future and that of her children to look forward to. A gift of $500 to help with food and daily supplies would help her provide for them this holiday season.

Case 025. Francine is a 59-year old woman from Bridgeport. She, her young adult daughter and her grandson were evicted earlier this year when Francine could no longer work after she was diagnosed with cancer. The daughter and grandson stayed with Francine’s adult son and wife in their one-bedroom apartment, while Francine was in a nursing home for treatment and rehabilitation. She is doing much better now, she’s in remission, secured Social Security benefits and now has an accessible, subsidized three-bedroom apartment with in-home assistance. Francine is happy for her health and to be back with her daughter and the grandson she calls “the love of her life.” When Francine was in the nursing home, she had all her furniture and belongings placed in storage. However, her dining room table was somehow lost. A gift of $300 would help to purchase a new dining room table so this reunited family can have their meals together again in their new place.

Case 026. Mya is a Puerto Rican woman who lives in Bridgeport. A victim of incest, she also is a victim of emotional and physical abuse by her husband. Having moved to Connecticut a few years ago, she became stable and was healing from her traumas. However, recently one of her abusers came to Connecticut, so now she needs to leave the state for her own safety. She has a modest income and has made arrangements to move but still needs a moving truck for her clothes and furniture. Mya cannot afford to start from scratch. A gift of $500 would help her to relocate to safety and peace of mind.

Case 027. CarolAnn is a single mother of twins living in Bridgeport who has been in several abusive relationships and desperately wants to find a way to live independently. She is having to move home to her parent’s house for the time being until she can find a job. A gift of $500 would help ease CarolAnn’s finances this Christmas so that her daughters do not have to feel the pressure, stress and fear that comes with seeing their mother having to rely on someone who has been abusive in the past. This would be a gift of being able to breathe again.

Case 028. Eugene has been struggling with alcoholism for many years. Currently he is in recovery and has been able to maintain his sobriety for a few years. Due to the positive changes he has made in his life, he was successfully transitioned this year from living in a nursing home to independent living in the Bridgeport community. Eugene’s support circle is in Stamford, and because he doesn’t have his own transportation, it is difficult for him to stay connected. Feeling connected and keeping his mind occupied is crucial to his sobriety. He is grateful to be living independently but is in need of a computer so that he can lean on his support system and provide a distraction when necessary. Eugene is very determined and is working toward achieving and independent, sober life style one step at a time.

Case 029. Natalia is a single mother of two who is the sole support for herself and her family. She does not receive public assistance. She is a hard worker; has two jobs and attends school part time, but struggles to keep up with the household bills. Natalia can use some help this holiday season to provide food and warm clothes for her growing children. A gift card of $300 from Target will give her great relief and take away some of the burden.

Case 030. Nina is a resident of Bridgeport who has been homeless for the past year. She has been moving from one family member to another. She has no income and has medical issues that prevent her from getting work. She currently lives with her daughter and her daughter’s family. Nina assists her as much as she can but cannot contribute financially to rent or household items. A gift of $350 would allow Nina to feel that she can contribute to help supplement the rent and household expenses.