More than 30 percent of all children in Fairfax County Public Schools are eligible to receive free or reduced-price meals. So, not surprisingly, these same children also come from homes where there’s just no extra money for school supplies.
“Each year, thousands of Fairfax County students face various challenges that no child in our country should have to face,” said Lisa Whetzel, executive director of Fairfax-based nonprofit Britepaths. “Food insecurity, lack of resources for school supplies and limited access to appropriate school clothing are some of the very real issues that distract students from meeting their highest academic potential.”
So in normal times, that’s where Britepaths comes in, usually providing these students with school supplies via the Collect for Kids Back to School Program. But due to COVID-19, things have changed this year, and Britepaths cannot accept backpacks, calculators or supplies donated by the community.
But school – whether online or in-person – will still happen. So although Britepaths will have to tackle this issue in a different way, it’s still gearing up to help local students in need be ready to learn when the new school year begins.
Here’s the new plan: In partnership with Fairfax County’s Collect for Kids initiative, Britepaths will collect funds this summer to provide pre-packaged, school-supply kits to select schools to be distributed to students with identified need.
“Britepaths is committed to helping 2,500 students with their supplies, this year,” said Whetzel. “In order to do this, we need to raise at least $25,000 to purchase the supplies, but we cannot do it without the generosity of the local community. A donation of $25 will help two students. Any amount people can give will make a big difference for children in need, right in their own neighborhoods.”
Donations may be made at https://britepaths.org/ or mail checks, payable to Britepaths, to: Britepaths, 3959 Pender Drive, Suite 200, Fairfax, VA 22030. Please write “BTS” in the memo line. For more information, call Shefali Ryan at 703-273-8829, ext. 888.