Community Support Needed for "Keep the Heat On" Campaign

February 15th, 2016
Crowdfunding Campaign Aims to Raise $16,000 in February to Increase Financial Assistance Grants to Struggling Fairfax County Area Families

Note: Our Daily Bread changed its name to Britepaths on July 21, 2016

FAIRFAX, VA (February 15, 2016) – Teresa is recently widowed and raising three children on her own in Fairfax County. She is working with volunteers and staff at Fairfax-based non-profit Our Daily Bread to improve her financial outlook and become financially self-sufficient. She uses oil to heat her home, and struggled to make the large payment to fill the tank for the winter. Our Daily Bread’s Financial Assistance Program helped make it possible for her to keep the heat on.

“Thank you to Our Daily Bread for helping us with heating oil,” Teresa said. “Since oil is very expensive, I cannot afford it. I don’t have to worry about it anymore for the rest of the winter. I’ll keep warm, my kids and me.”

Our Daily Bread is running its Keep the Heat On “crowdfunding” campaign throughout the month of February with a goal of raising $16,000 or more to increase the organization’s capacity to help Fairfax County area residents who are struggling to make ends meet get through the coldest months.

According to U.S. Census data for 2014, there are more than 10,000 families residing in Fairfax County who live just above the poverty line. They are often living paycheck-to-paycheck, taking home approximately $25,000 to $35,000 per year. With the high cost of housing and living expenses in our area, a loss of work hours due to illness in the family, unexpected school closures, seasonal work slow-downs, or a variety of other factors can quickly lead families to a point of financial crisis that causes them to fall behind on their bills. A local mom who received Financial Assistance from Our Daily Bread wrote to us, “Most of the time I seem to need help in one aspect or another (rent, utilities) at least once a year. I am very thankful for agencies like ODB.”

Our Daily Bread’s Financial Assistance Program provides grants of approximately $200 per client to help them catch up on utility bills or rent, with the goal of keeping them in their homes while they regain their financial footing. In 2015, the organization provided Financial Assistance to 451 Fairfax County area residents, an increase of 147 over the previous year, thanks to generous donations from community members and organizations. Recipients are referred to ODB by social workers from Fairfax County, Fairfax County Public Schools or other local non-profits. Assistance is paid directly to the utility, vendor or landlord on behalf of the client. ODB is seeking support from the public in hopes of greatly increasing the amount of funding it can make available to those in our community who are struggling.   

Lisa Whetzel, Our Daily Bread’s Executive Director, said, “It is a real eye-opener to many in wealthy Fairfax County to learn that 10,000 families are struggling to make ends meet, and often coming up short. Can you imagine having to choose between feeding your children and paying your utilities or rent? The families we serve are often faced with choices like these, even though they are often working as hard as they can. We are constantly seeking ways to increase our Financial Assistance budget, but it is a huge challenge to obtain grant funding for this Program. We are hoping community members will support this campaign and be our grantors. All funds donated to our crowdfunding page will go directly to providing Financial Assistance to our neighbors in need.”

Community members interested in helping may make a donation at: http://www.YouCaring.com/KeeptheHeatOn, or send a check to Our Daily Bread at 4080 Chain Bridge Road, 2nd Floor, Fairfax, VA 22030. Write “Keep the Heat On” in the check’s memo line. For information, contact 703-273-8829 or info@ODBFairfax.org or visit www.ODBFairfax.org.

For more than 30 years, Our Daily Bread has provided assistance and a way forward for struggling individuals and families throughout the Fairfax County area. The organization relies on funding and volunteer support from the Fairfax community to provide supplemental food, financial assistance, financial mentoring and budget classes, an intensive Project BRIDGE program to foster long-term self-sufficiency, the Naomi Project to mentor at-risk new and expecting mothers, holiday assistance and back-to-school assistance. More information is available at www.ODBFairfax.org.

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