At its “Artful Living 2019: Thrive,” Britepaths raised $86,000 through its Wing Span Raffle and auction, and juried art show and sale featuring 60 local artists. About 250 people paid $100 to attend the 35th anniversary gala at the Country Club of Fairfax last Thursday, May 2, 2019. The money will be used to support struggling families in the community.
A live, charity auction offered a beachfront condo stay in Cozumel, Mexico; a stained-glass piece by Britepaths’ Executive Director Lisa Whetzel; and an Emerald Isle, N.C., beach house rental. The evening’s festivities also included live music by Latin-jazz band Batida Diferente, appetizers, wine and beer and a photo booth.
According to Whetzel: “At Britepaths, what we are trying to do is to help low-to-moderate income families that are struggling financially in Fairfax County to become self-sufficient for the long-term. And we do that through several different ways of stabilizing families with safety net services and building resilience in families to weather future financial storms. Financial literacy in teaching basic budgeting and personal finance really helps people to manage their limited incomes. We serve 3,500 children every year through our food assistance program and also through the holiday gifts and school supplies programs in the fall.”
Britepaths’ mission (formerly Our Daily Bread) is to provide Fairfax County neighbors in need with short-term safety-net services and empower them to work toward long-term self-sufficiency. Whetzel said some 900 volunteers provided 10,000 hours of volunteering for the organization last year.
According to guest of honor Beth High, one of the founders of Our Daily Bread: “Way back in 1984, various churches got together and we housed some homeless people for a while and it turned into soup kitchens, then we gradually found we weren’t exactly feeding the people we wanted to feed so we started taking food to the motels where the social workers had placed homeless people, and we then moved onto prevention of homelessness.”
She continued: “Just giving them food or paying for one bill isn’t the answer. You’ve got to go down to the bottom of where the problem was. They’ve branched out with lots of other activities. They do back-to-school programs; they do Christmas and Thanksgiving programs, and adopt a family. I’m very proud of them from having been there from the beginning of it.”
Del. Mark Keam (D-35) added: “Britepaths is a very necessary organization in our community because even though on the surface everybody assumes Fairfax County is wealthy and people are doing well and we have a great quality of life…. The reality is that for many of our neighbors, that’s not necessarily true. We have people who are so vulnerable that they are one paycheck away or one major medical disaster away from bankruptcy or homelessness or all kinds of crisis. And organizations like Britepaths for 35 years has built the resiliency that families need to be able to get back on their feet if they see a problem, and so they provide the family unit the idea that they can build themselves up and for families and neighbors to make sure that everybody is able to live the American dream in Fairfax County.”
Added Del. Ken Plum (D-36): “Britepaths provides a critically important service to the people in Central Fairfax. Their fundraising event is one of the nicest in the county. It mixes together art as well as people’s caring hearts about how to serve their fellow citizens. It’s always a delight to come here and see the work that’s being done. Britepaths is a good organization.”
Art Show Winners: Best of Medium
Oil/Acrylic – "I Grow Where I Am Planted" by Monica Tucker-Harley of Fairfax
Watercolor – "The Castle Playground" by Alex Carr of Purcellville, Va.
Photography – "Flourish" by Holly Crowder of Annandale
Ceramic/Sculpture/Fabric Art – "Survive, Change, Thrive" by Etta Johnson of Vienna
Mixed/Other – "Nature Patterns" Print Series by Sharon Corish of Clifton
Charcoal – "Care" by Robabeh Riasati of Fairfax Station
Woodcut Print – “The Rowers” by Charles Mai of Arlington
People’s Choice Award
“Beneath the Surface” by Karen Wawrzaszek of Vienna