United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has awarded the Town of Darien a grant to support residents impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. The presentation was made to Ali Ramsteck, Director of Human Services.
Representing the local United Way were two Darien residents, Sam Tingley, a member of the non-profit’s Board of Directors, and Michelle Litt, Director of Impact Philanthropy.
“We are so grateful for this grant to support Darien families,” commented Ramsteck. “Many have lost income during the pandemic and are struggling to keep their heads above water. They need assistance with utilities and housing costs, so they won’t fall behind and be vulnerable once the moratoria are lifted.”
The Covid Relief Grant provides emergency assistance for food, rent, utilities and critical bills to help keep families in stable homes. This is the second round of grants awarded by United Way to support those impacted by the pandemic.
Board member Sam Tingley commented: “Our neighbors need our help, and some of them are seeking help for the first time in their lives. Our United Way is honored to work with the Town of Darien to bring help and hope to the residents struggling in my own hometown.”
Before the pandemic, more than one out of six Darien families struggled to make ends meet. With Covid, families were challenged by increased household expenses with school children at home, and by the loss of income due to reduced hours or shuttered businesses. In the past year, Darien’s requests for help to United Way’s 2-1-1 Infoline have more than doubled.
This grant of $4,000 follows previous supports provided last spring to the town’s human services department, Person-to-Person, and Open Door Shelter.
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, United Way of Coastal Fairfield County (UWCFC) has made investments in every one of the 12 towns in its service area, offering:
- Grants for basic needs: Approximately $150,000 in grants to support towns and community partners providing for basic needs like food, rent, and utilities.
- Direct Help to Families: Over $89,000 in electronic gift cards to families in need, distributed by towns and local social service agencies.
- Protective Equipment: Tens of thousands of protective masks, gloves, and face shields to help neighbors ranging from frontline health workers to teachers and families, thanks to corporate donors and healthcare partners and like Bank of America and Yale New Haven Health.
- Virtual Learning Support: For remote learners in Kindergarten to 12th grade, UWCFC has provided a virtual tutoring program, a STEM enrichment workshop, and camps in robotics and engineering. These innovative offerings were made by the Greater Bridgeport STEM Learning Ecosystem, an initiative of the United Way’s flagship collective impact movement, Bridgeport Prospers.
- Freshly made lunches: Over 3,000 lunches delivered to hungry neighbors in 3 towns, through a partnership with Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin Company.
- Connections to Resources: Through the 2-1-1 Infoline, United Way has fielded over 86,0000 service requests from Fairfield County residents in the past twelve months.
These supports were made possible through grants, partnerships, local fundraising, and state-wide relief efforts.
According to Michelle Litt, Darien resident and Director of United Way’s Impact Philanthropy, “Throughout the pandemic, our United Way has worked innovatively and tirelessly to ease the burden shouldered by our neighbors in every one of our twelve communities. Together with our partners, we will overcome this crisis and ensure that all our neighbors—including those in my own hometown— have the opportunity to thrive.”