The new Safety Net Program will allow non-profits to apply for money that will make up for funding lost during the pandemic.By Casey Albritton

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Local non-profits can now apply for some extra financial help from Hillsborough County.

The new Safety Net Program will allow non-profits to apply for money that will make up for funding lost during the pandemic.

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Marisol Sanches, owner of a non-profit called Guided Path, says “I can’t sleep at night knowing there’s someone I was able to feed and they didn’t eat, so it’s very important to me. This is my baby, this is my passion.”

Every time Sanchez hears a door bell at the front of her non-profit, she knows there’s an opportunity to help someone in need.

“There are a lot of people who are suffering and a lot of people who don’t have a place to eat, a place to stay. Especially with the housing market going on because of COVID-19,” said Sanchez.

She spends hours every morning cooking meals for people who are homeless.

“I was homeless. I know how it is to be hungry. I know how it is to not have a home and not be able to take a shower,” said Sanchez.

She started Guided Path, in 2009, and the last two years haven’t been easy, especially after losing her primary donors during the pandemic.

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“When COVID-19 hit we got an increase of demand of people who have food insecurity and because I didn’t have the funding at all so I had to take out of pocket to buy trays, to buy supplies,” said Sanchez.

Christina Fields spends a lot of time at Guided Path and says Sanchez continues to give no matter what.

“She doesn’t have to do what she does, like I said because she comes out of pocket. She’s here most of her days, she barely spends time at home. But she makes sure we have hot meals every day,” said Fields.

On Monday, Hillsborough County opened up a Safety Net Program that will allow non-profits to receive financial assistance to make up for money they lost because of COVID-19, something Sanchez says she’s going to apply for.

“She needs a bigger building, and we can see that because there’s a lot more people coming in,” said Fields.

With that extra money Sanchez says she can continue to help the people she’s come to know as family.

“It’s like home. It makes you feel really good,” said Guided Path customer, Artemio Deleon.

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If you are interested in donating to Guided Path, you can go to http://www.guidedpathfoundation.org.