Who We Are
In 1977, a group of employees at Southbury Town Hall saw an opportunity to spread Christmas cheer by purchasing presents of new clothing and toys for Southbury children who might have had a bleak holiday due to their family’s financial situation. These town employees bought and wrapped gifts for families whose need was known to Social Services, and the gifts were given to the families prior to Christmas.
From 1977 to 1983, the informal organization – known as the Southbury Children’s Christmas Fund – grew, as members of the community heard about the program and wanted to help, either by buying gifts for the children on the list or providing funding for the gifts. By Christmas 1983, the program was helping a total of 104 children from 47 Southbury families. In December of 1984 147 children received Christmas gifts, and in 1985, 135 children received gifts of new clothing and toys. The program was receiving donations from individuals, churches, local clubs, and organizations, with some of the organizations shopping for the Christmas gifts and others making monetary contributions.
By January of 1984, the need for a formally organized non-profit fund had already become apparent. Southbury Social Services was encountering residents who required help, not just at Christmas, but during difficult financial times through the year, and these needs could not be met by any other organization. Extenuated or emergency requests ranged from car repairs, rental assistance, furnace repair, and medications, to gas money, newborn layettes, disposable diapers, and children’s clothing for school. After interviewing the families, Social Services referred their requests to the Fund, and it is a tribute to our generous community that assistance has always been there.
As more community residents and organizations came forward to help, and as the fund expanded its outreach program, the name was changed from the “Southbury Children’s Christmas Fund” to the Southbury Needy Fund, Inc. The primary goal of the Fund would still be the annual Christmas Program, but would also include ongoing referrals for town residents from Social Services. Gail McTaggart, a local attorney, donated her services to write up formal incorporation papers, and filed our application for tax exempt status with the IRS. The application was quickly approved, and the Southbury Needy Fund became officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt organization in January of 1984. Sharon M. Lieber, Angela S. Rogers, and Mary J. Finley, along with Municipal Agent Pamela Dudzic and Town of Southbury Treasurer Paul F. Smith, are the five founding members listed on the incorporation papers.
Today, the Southbury Needy Fund remains separate and independent from the Town of Southbury, and, as always, operates solely from donated tax-exempt funds from the community. Audit reports are prepared and sent to the IRS annually. With the help of our generous community, we continue to be Southbury’s hub for helping hands: at winter holiday time and all year round.