FAIRFAX, Va. (WDVM) — As working families stay home during coronavirus, Britepaths’ Director of Development Shannon Bryant says we’re all getting a taste of what it’s like for low-income families every day. 

While people stockpile toilet paper, food items, and sanitation materials, Bryant wants them to keep the less fortunate in mind. “The reality is that we have to consider our neighbors as well — the people that don’t have those resources on a normal basis are more in need in times like these,” said Bryant. 

Food pantries across the country are struggling to collect food donations. Britepaths is instead requesting cash donations to better serve its clients’ needs. Britepaths, formally Our Daily Bread, helps stabilize low-income families with financial literacy programs, food donations, and other support options. 

“The idea of food distribution — points of contact — are not really the best idea. We don’t want to gather people in large groups for the regular food dissemination processes that we have. We’d rather be able to give the capacity directly to our families through food gift cards,” Bryant said. “So we’re really asking people to consider cash donations as the best way on all fronts to support our families through this time.”

Individual donations make up about 40 percent of Britepaths’ total contributions to the community.

A lot of Britepaths families are either hourly wage workers or employed in service industries; most of which are shut down right now. Many don’t have paid time off and have to choose between working and taking care of their families. Britepaths has launched a campaign to raise $100,000 next month for financial assistance for its clients due to lost wages.

Britepaths client Carolina Jimenez is a babysitter. Her employer requested she stay at home for the time being. While Jimenez takes care of her two young daughters, she’s unsure whether she’ll be paid for the days or weeks she’s not working. On Wednesday, Britepaths gave Jimenez food donations and a gift card.

Jimenez calls Britepaths her family. “They are supporting me in many ways. Not just with the gift cards. It’s advice, emails, support. You feel like somebody is there to help you in many ways.” 

To contribute to the Britepaths campaign, visit: https://britepaths.org/adjust-give