Giving Fund raises $50K for residents in need
GREENWICH — When Carol, who recently graduated from high school, lost her mother unexpectedly last month, she had to put college on hold to take care of her father. Her family is struggling to cover the funeral costs.
Pete, a public housing resident who receives a disability pension, scraped to support his family after his wife lost her job. Their financial problems compounded when one of his twin daughters underwent major surgery.
Maribel emigrated from the Dominican Republic about a year ago to be with her children. She has HIV and breast cancer, and recently had a mastectomy. Despite looking for work, she’s had trouble finding a job. The $220 fee required to submit an Immigrant Visa Packet in order to stay in the country with her family was out of reach for Maribel.
Carol, Pete, Maribel and more than 80 other Greenwich and Stamford residents in need will soon receive community donations to help them meet basic needs to survive.
“This whole drive was an absolute success this year,” said Bill Brucker, vice president of Family Centers, a nonprofit that serves at-risk children and families in Fairfield County.
For decades, Greenwich Time and the Stamford Advocate have run short stories about people and families who are in need of a helping hand during the holidays. The vignettes include the amount needed to meet their basic needs for a program known as the Giving Fund. Two local nonprofits — Family Centers and Neighbor to Neighbor, which collected the case stories — will ensure each family gets its individual donations after the Giving Fund raised more than $50,000 this year.
“We are so grateful to the community, who stepped up to help those in situational crises, especially during the holiday season,” said Ceci Maher, executive director of nonprofit Person to Person, which helps families move toward stability.
The individualized stories of the needs of many living on the brink of poverty help to raise awareness of the needs of underserved populations in an affluent area, Brucker said.
“Living here in Fairfield County, a lot of us are blessed with great jobs and resources,” he said. “These stories shine a light on the fact that there is a significant need right in our own community.”
Because of the Giving Fund, Carol will get a check for $800 to help cover her mother’s funeral costs. Pete and his family will receive $500 to pay down mounting medical bills. And Maribel will get the $220 she needs to stay in the U.S.