Grant to Help Residents Affected by Covid Pandemic Fallout
United Way of Coastal Fairfield County has awarded the Town of Easton a grant to support residents impacted by the Covid-19 crisis. The presentation was made to Alison Witherbee, director of human services.
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 from United Way to aid those affected by the pandemic in Fairfield County.
“We are grateful for this grant to support Easton residents, especially young families who have lost employment income during the crisis,” said Witherbee. “Primarily, the funding will help those struggling with utility bills to stay warm during these cold months. It will also provide grocery store gift cards so that school-aged children get the nourishment they need.”
The grant of $4,000 was presented by United Way CEO Jeff Kimball and Easton resident Sarah Lehberger, content marketing manager for the local non-profit. It follows support provided to the Town of Easton last spring in the form of electronic gift cards to meet immediate family needs.
“Our neighbors need our help, and many of them are seeking help for the first time in their lives,” Kimball said. “We’re honored to work with the Town of Easton to bring help and hope to those who are suffering.”
Before the pandemic, more than one out of five Easton families struggled to make ends meet. Now families are challenged by increased household expenses and the loss of income due to reduced working hours or shuttered businesses. In the past year, Easton residents’ requests for help to United Way’s 2-1-1 Infoline have nearly doubled.
To meet the demand in the months ahead, Witherbee is hoping to expand the town’s food pantry. United Way is helping to facilitate donations through its website, and encourages contributions to the pantry project by visiting the link: https://unitedwaycfc.org/town-of-easton
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.
“Throughout the pandemic, our United Way has worked innovatively and tirelessly to ease the burden shouldered by our neighbors,” Kinball said. “Together with our partners, we will overcome this crisis and keep building more equitable and resilient communities — where all our neighbors have the opportunity to thrive.”
United Way of Coastal Fairfield County’s mission is “Together, we mobilize our communities to improve people’s lives.” Our vision is that all children in coastal Fairfield County are successful in school and prepared for success in life. UWCFC serves the towns of Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Stratford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport, and Wilton. Find out more at: https://unitedwaycfc.org/