‘One virus can come in and take it all away’: Henrico non-profit closes again

Local News

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Brian Purcell, founder of The Way, a non-profit organization that helps the community struggling with hunger, unemployment, homelessness, and drug or alcohol addiction, announced on Facebook live this morning that the organization would be closing for another two weeks because of the coronavirus.

He said one of the staff member’s husband has been hospitalized with COVID-19. Purcell added she and her family were getting tested for the virus today and have self-quarantined themselves.

A selfie Brian Purcell took in the hospital.

“So just to follow CDC guidelines I am shutting down the way again to re sanitize everything and to have all the volunteers, people who’ve come in contact with the staff member, to also be tested and self-quarantine,” Purcell said.

Purcell knows how bad the virus can be. He contracted it early last month but has luckily made a full recovery.

“I try to be very optimistic about things,” Purcell said. “When I was diagnosed, well hospitalized with the coronavirus, I went in scared, I went in not really knowing the outcome, but I still try to stay optimistic about things. I was telling myself every day when I woke up ‘Okay, that’s one day closer to being better and getting over this virus.'”

Despite this optimism, Purcell said he doesn’t know what the future of The Way is. He said April and the first half of May have been rough on both him and the organization.

“We had to shut down the whole operation and that prevented people from getting necessary food,” he said.

Purcell said they had to close The Way for nearly a month until he was cleared by the health department. Even still, some communities still won’t let them in because he had the virus.

“So it’s just been all downhill since,” he said.

In addition to the coronavirus shutting down the group, Purcell said someone reported The Way to Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services for soliciting donations. He said he did not know he needed to apply to ask for financial donations for a non-profit.

Brian Purcell, founder of The Way, said April and the first half of May have been rough on both him and the organization. “We had to shut down the whole operation and that prevented people from getting necessary food,” he said.

The application will cost $250 and take up to 175 days to be approved, according to Purcell.

“So for at least 175 days we, The Way, cannot ask anybody in the community for any type of financial donation, which is a huge blow on us because those financial donations help us to keep the building, pay the bills … things like that.”

He said the loss of that money is really going to hurt the group.

Once The Way opens up again in two weeks Purcell said they’ll have enough finances to keep it going for a month or two — but after that, he has no idea what’s going to happen.

“It’s gonna hurt a lot,” Purcell said. “We get calls a lot people want us to bring them food. Now knowing we have to shut down again, we once again will have to throw away any refrigerated food, any bread, and we’re not going to be able to deliver that stuff.”

Watch the full Facebook live here:

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