“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” - Charles Dickens. “It is a very well-known quote and very fitting right now during these frightening and unusual circumstances in our world,” said Carey Dougherty, Executive Director of Malta House in Norwalk, a home for pregnant mothers and their babies. “Without our home, our residents would truly have nowhere to go. How does one ‘shelter in place’ when they have no shelter to begin with? Most Connecticut shelters will offer 90 days of housing to someone in need, but not to a mother and child– they would be separated.
Malta House is a 24-hour care facility and we are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We have had to distance our staff with some working from home, and others working on a reduced-hour alternate schedule; we are not allowing any visitors or volunteers on site and we have been screening our residents and babies regularly to ensure they remain healthy and safe. Each year, Malta House raises nearly $250,000 with our Annual Spring Gala. We raise additional funds at other planned smaller events, but our Gala is our biggest fundraiser”, said Dougherty. “We have postponed our gala until the fall, as well as all of our other in-person fundraisers and speaking engagements at local parishes, since they are closed too. That means a significant and critical shortfall in our operating funds this spring, this summer and beyond. It will be difficult to fill this gap.”
When the COVID-19 crisis took a critical turn in March, Fairfield County Community Foundation acted quickly and created the “Fairfield County COVID-19 Resiliency Fund”, set up to rapidly deploy resources to trusted, frontline community organizations meeting basic needs of local residents in Fairfield County. Said Dougherty, “We applied for funding as soon as we could and thankfully, we were awarded $15,000 within two weeks. On behalf of Malta House, our board of directors, our staff and especially our moms and babies, we want to thank you, Fairfield County Community Foundation, for this emergency grant funding. You have shined a bright light in ‘the worst of times’ and given us help and hope. This funding will help us continue to keep our moms and babies safe and secure. Thank you for the support you have given us in a time of great need. Thank you for your strength and lifting up our community. We are so grateful, and we will never forget your generosity.”
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Community Foundation is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards, and has awarded $180 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. For more information, visit www.fccfoundation.org
The nonprofit Malta House Inc. is Connecticut’s only transitional living program for vulnerable pregnant and parenting women over the age of 18. It offers housing and wrap-around services to assist mothers in establishing financial independence and housing stability. The Norwalk organization has helped more than 600 mothers and babies transition from homelessness to stability and independence in the last 21 years, and is a valuable resource in the community for families in need.