Fairfield County includes enough well-funded municipal governments, pristine business districts, manicured parks and safe, wealthy enclaves that many outsiders refer to the entire area as “The Gold Coast.”
Yet pressing human services remain an increasingly important part of day-to-day life for many. Just as food pantries have taken on a greater and more regular role for many families and homelessness has bucked national trends by rising, so too many more people in the area rely increasingly on the generosity of private donors for basic needs.
GoFundMe is one major engine for soliciting private donations, and in the window above you’ll see a sampling of five active campaigns in the region. Click through above for more detailed information and for instructions on how to donate or share a campaign. The ones spotlighted here include these three:
- Rachel German, a high school senior, is very interested in zoology. In the summer of her junior year she spent two weeks at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida participating in their zoo keeping program. She also worked 20 hours with mentor Tracy Benham at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport. German plans to spend four weeks in Phalaborwa, South Africa at the C.A.R.E. Baboon Sanctuary, an organization that has accepted all wildlife into its sanctuary but specializes in the care of primates, specifically, baby baboons. German said, "As a volunteer at the reserve I would assist in the daily care and rehabilitation process of these loving animals. Volunteers at the reserve require patience, compassion and a calm demeanor, all qualities which I posses." Her goal is to raise $3,500 for the trip. People on her page have donated $400 so far.
- Michael Benedict is a student embarking on a humanitarian trip to Guatemala for two weeks in January. It's sponsored by the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Quinnipiac University. He and other students, trip leaders and advisers will work on volunteer and service projects, including educating the locals on proper hygiene and nutrition, planting trees to help with reforestation, providing aid to the victims of Guatemala's most recent earthquake, as well as providing youth and educational programs to the local communities, among other projects. He has a goal of raising $3,500 and donors to his page have pitched in $130.
- Sara has been diagnosed with stage 4 Leiomyosarcoma, it is a very rare soft tissue cancer affecting only 4 in one million cancer patients usually over the age of 50. Her page says: "Sara has a very positive outlook and is fighting very hard to keep that outlook, however it is not easy at times. Due to the recent open heart surgery and recent diagnosis, she is unable to work under doctors orders." People have donated $4,080.
- Evan Maher, 5, was recently diagnosed with rhabdomysarcoma of the prostate and a small tumor of the same in the lung. Due to this hardship the family would appreciate all the prayers and financial help possible. Anything donated will go towards Evan's care and the family's financial struggle they will endure over the next year. So far people have donated $2,375
- Sixteen year old Nina Poeta is a cheerleader for Seymour High School and a talented gymnast and was having trouble with headaches while performing her routines. On November 19, 2013, she received an MRI of her brain because of these headaches. The next day her family was told to bring Nina to Smilow Cancer Center at Yale New Haven Hospital where she was diagnosed with a mass on her brain. They were told the cancerous tumor Is located in her brain stem and can't be surgically removed. Her family is trying to raise $100,000 for her treatment and so far people have donated $74,170.