Reston, VA

Tomorrow (June 9), a Reston Chick-Fil-A and the CORE Foundation are partnering to collect food and shoes for people in need.

The drive, which is one of several set to take place in the area, will run from 5 to 7 p.m. at Chick-Fil-A  (1494 Northpoint Village Center) and those who donate will receive a special offer from the eatery, according to the Facebook page.

For those who are unable to make the specific hours, people can still drop donations outside in a bag on a designated table or at the drive-through, according to the post.

“Your donation of canned goods and pantry items as well as gently used shoes will be delivered to Supporting Seniors in Place, Helping Hungry Kids and other food pantries,” the Facebook page.

The CORE Foundation, an organization based in Reston, helps small entrepreneurs reach their goals, according to its website, but also runs other fundraisers and support efforts.

Next week, the drive will be held at Glory Days in Reston, according to Mark Moody, a CORE Volunteer.

“If successful, we will continue this year-round to help keep our pantries stocked,” he said.

Photo via Chick-Fil-A/Facebook

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After Frying Pan Farm Park in Herndon lost income from visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a fundraiser is working to provide care for the animals.

The park, known around the community as a public, livestock-friendly facility, offers classes and camps for kids, has an on-site equestrian center and hosts field trips and similar events, according to Fairfax County.

But since the annual Farm Day, which was scheduled to take place (May 2), was canceled, people are rallying to make up for this significant source of income, according to the fundraiser page.

Roughly 100 animals live on the property, according to Yvonne Johnson, the manager of Frying Pan Farm Park.

Community members have donated $27,062 of the $30,000 that is required yearly to feed the animals living on the property, the page said, adding that the budget to feed the animals doesn’t come from Fairfax County. Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park is hosting the fundraiser.

“The Friends of Frying Pan Farm Park own the farm animals and contribute significantly to the cost of their feed and care,” the fundraising page said. “The Park Authority operates and staffs Frying Pan Farm Park.”

The $30,000 includes things like vet bills, equipment to grow food and other necessities, according to Johnson.

Despite the revenue loss, the animals are still well cared for and “having babies left and right,” Johnson said, but added that the animals and the staff are missing the typical interaction from guests.

Since Northern Virginia started the first reopening phase that is easing COVID-19 restrictions, Johnson said that the parking lots and trails are open for visitors who want to view the animals from the “peripheral fields.”

On the donation page, one contributor commented: “Visited there many times when my son was growing up. It is a part of our community. Love the 4-H Fair and the concerts.” A kids’ book has even been written about the center and its relation to the area’s history.

As of today, 322 people have contributed to the fundraiser. It will run for another 30 days in case anyone would still like to donate.

Photo via Friends of Frying Pan Park/Facebook

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Local food trucks and food vendors celebrated public works crews (Wednesday) by offering 1,400 free meals throughout the county, including the Town of Herndon.

The initiative, which was made possible by funding coordinated by the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, honored public works crews who have quietly continued to perform essential services like water management and trash collection despite the COVID-19 pandemic.

County officials said the program, which was in time for National Public Works Week this week, was a win-win for local businesses and public works employees. Curbside Kitchen and Cureate, two companies that work with local food trucks and vendors coordinated services with FCEDA, which secured funding from a philanthropic couple. Meals were given from 11:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. yesterday (Wednesday).

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted local and county departments to change their operations and modes of service delivery. The Town of Herndon, for example, has shifted to more online services, including accepting engineering drawings online.

In the public works department, crews are more spread out, with one person riding a vehicle instead of two or three individuals. Shifts are now also staggered in some cases, according to Scott Robinson, the Town of Herndon’s public works director.

Robinson says he expects that some changes in how services are provided will continue in a post-COVID-19 world.

For example, the town may consider offering more online services, in addition to in-person services.

“Our town manager said it best. We want to serve customers the way they want to be served,” Robinson said.

So far, he is incredibly proud of how public works’ employees have handled their jobs amid concerns about safety and health. “These folks are literally out there keep the town running and they’ve done it happily and without complaining,” he said. “I’m really proud of the work the department has been doing.”

Photo via Town of Herndon

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Virginia State Police Issue Alert for Missing Reston Resident — The state’s police department issued an alert for missing Reston resident Michael Delaney, 75, who was last seen leaving Reston Hospital Center on May 10. Local police have suspended an active search for the Reston resident, who suffers from a cognitive impairment. [Virginia State Police]

Good Deed Alert: Stuff the Bus is Today — Fastran buses will be parked at locations throughout the county for donations. The Reston location is at the Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office, which is located at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive. Donations from that location will go directly Cornerstones. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Man Charged with Second DWI — “A man was arrested in Ashburn May 14 after reportedly causing a vehicle collision while impaired, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded to the 44000 block of Allderwood Terrace around 9:24 a.m. and reportedly found the striking driver to be under the influence of alcohol. Julio F. Aragon, 30, of Reston, was charged with driving while intoxicated — his second offense.” [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Fairfax County recently created a map pinpointing local groups looking for donations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The map allows users to find nonprofits and organizations within a specific region of Fairfax County so they can help people within their own communities.

Users can search for charities by the proximity to an address or by clicking on one from the general geographic overview.

The charities listed on the website are accepting items including personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, baby products and paper items, the page said. Throughout the county, 22,620 households are at or below the poverty level, according to the website.

Charities collecting monetary donations can be found on the webpage as well.

People can learn more about a charity by reading an overview from Volunteer Fairfax.

County-wide:

Reston:

Herndon:

Image via Fairfax County

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Thursday Morning Notes

Local Company Tapped for Contact Tracing — The Indiana State Health department has hired Maximus Inc., a Reston-based company, to begin contact tracing for its 92 counties. The company will begin the laborious process of reaching out to people who have tested positive and determining who they have been in contact with over the last two weeks. [Indiana Business Journal]

Herndon Cares Seeks More Support — The initiative has provided more than 1,000 community members with takeout dinners fro local restaurants. The four-week-old program is made possible with partnerships with local faith communities. [Reston Patch]

Local Restaurant Offers Food for Front Line Fighters — Pica Deli, a Reston-based restaurant, raised $2,600 to help fund costs to donate deli sandwiches to frontline hospital medical staff and first responders. [The Connection]

Reminder: County Small Business Loans — Small businesses based in Fairfax County are eligible for up to $20,000 at zero percent interest through the county’s recently established Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Fund. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Association Annual Meeting is Today — The annual meeting is set for 7 pm. today and will be held via Zoom. The meeting will also be streamed online via YouTube. [Reston Association]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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Local congregations are banding together to provide takeout meals from local restaurants to those in need of food.

Since the second week of its launch, the program, Herndon Cares, has fed more than 400 people. More congregations and businesses are joining the effort, including Christ Fellowship Church, Herndon United Methodist Church, Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, St. John Neumann Catholic Community, Trinity Presbyterian Church, and Washington Plaza Baptist Church.

The First Baptist Church of Herndon spearheaded the effort after Pastor Sean Roberds pitched the idea of raising funds for meals in an effort to support local businesses and local residents.

Within a week of suggesting the idea, the church’s community outreach coordinator launched the effort and recruited volunteers, including Renee Maxwell from Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon.

“I’m thrilled that more and more faith congregations are patterning in this effort and that businesses are very enthusiastic,” Maxwell said.

Restaurants that are within the zip code areas of 20170, 20171, 20190, and 20194 can participate by pitching dinner for $10/person or less. Some local participants include:

  • Amphora’s Diner Deluxe
  • Apple Spice
  • A Taste of the World Restaurant
  • Charcoal Kabab
  • Enatye Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Great Harvest Bread Company
  • Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern
  • Mellow Mushroom
  • Mr. Pepperoni
  • Virginia Kitchen
  • Willard’s BBQ
  • 100 Bowls

The organization is accepting donations online. So far, Herndon Cares has raised $7,185 of its ambitious $100,000 goal. Meals can be requested on the program’s website.

Photo via Herndon Cares

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Instead of our typical Friday roundup of events, we’ve included ways that you can give from the comfort of your home or vehicle as the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold in the county, country and around the world.

Below is a list of a few local initiatives and organizations that are seeking funds and donations. If you have other suggestions, feel free to shoot us an email at [email protected].

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has launched a COVID-19 fund that aims to provide “flexible funding resources” for nonprofit organizations and other programs in the area. The fund primarily helps those impacted by the virus and its economic consequences.

In addition to funds, Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization, has an Amazon wishlist for its Reston food pantry. The list is available online. If items are not available for shipment, Cornerstones encourages residents to find another distributed to get the items to the organization. Residents can also drop-off donations at 11484 Washington Plaza-W, Suite 120. Items that are needed include gift cards for grocery stores, gas station, and fast food restaurants; rice; beans; lentils; cooking oil; oatmeal; eggs; milk; Clorox wipes; disinfectants; spray bottles; and paper towels.

The Embry Rucker Community Shelter is also looking for essential items like underwear, shampoo and clothing online.

With school buildings closed, the South Lakes High School Pantry is also seeking donations online. The pantry is seeking items like pasta sauce, canned tomatoes, pasta, dry rice, beans, cereal, oil, granola bars, bar soap, toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste and maxi pads.

Fellowship Square is looking for volunteers to help with food delivery to low-income seniors at Lake Anne and Hunters Woods Fellowship Houses. Guidelines, which are in accordance with State Gov. Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home-order are available online.

Herndon-Reston FISH, which stands for Friendly Instant Sympathetic Help, is also collecting donations. The Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center (1086 Elden Street) and Connections for Hope Partnership (1141 Elden Street) are looking for cleaning products like bleach, Clorox wipes, spray bottles and paper towels. Both programs are operated under Cornerstones.

At Reston Hospital Center, residents can donate blood through the American Red Cross or make a financial contribution to HCA’s Hope Fund. The hospital is not currently accepting homemade masks.

Residents can also check in with the county’s Neighbor to Neighbor Program to help neighbors with services like grocery deliveries and check-in phone calls.

LINK, a volunteer-based Christian organization that offers emergency food to families in Reston, Herndon and Ashburn, is also seeking items via an Amazon wishlist.

Photo via SLHS Food Pantry/Facebook

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The Reston YMCA will begin offering produce distribution tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12196 Sunset Hill Roads.

Although the location and all others in the DMV region are closed, residents can drop by on Wednesday from 4-6 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon to pick up produce.

Produce is available to all, regardless of their affiliation with the YMCA.

Residents should bring their own bag. The effort is made possible with the support of Keany Produce and Child Care Resources Inc.

Image via Google Maps

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Local employees and restaurant managers are seeking relief as temporary closures and storewide layoffs add financial strain and stress due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Staff from Red’s Table, CraftHouse, PassionFish, Cooper’s Hawk and Uncle Julio’s have launched crowdfunding campaigns.

Diane Edwards, a former full-time employee at Red’s Table, told Reston Now the lay-offs of 30 staff members have put her in a challenging financial situation.

The past few weeks have been uncertain and stressful and the foreseeable future does not appear to be any different. Although I have applied for unemployment, it is not guaranteed when I will receive aid. Money is becoming scarce as I still have bills to pay and basic necessities need to be fulfilled as well,” Edwards said.

Ryan Tracy, the restaurant’s owner and manager, launched the public funding campaign for his employees.

“Unfortunately it seems this could go on for some time. I have been searching for remote employment but haven’t had any luck,” said Stanley Kaplan, 27, who has worked at the restaurant for around eight months.

So far, it has raised $5,660 of the $40,000 goal.

We look forward to all of our team members coming back to work, where they will have jobs waiting for them. Until then, we thank you for your generosity and support during these unprecedented times,” Tracy wrote.

Other employees have launched campaigns of their own.

The donations we are asking for extend further than the employees of Uncle Julio’s; it will be reaching the families of our staff as well,” the campaign for Uncle Julios’s reads.

Nine bartenders from Cooper’s Hawk in Reston are also out of work and seeking donations.

“We do not know how long we will be out of work and considering the majority of our money was made via tips, it would be greatly appreciated if you would show your support,” the bartending team wrote.

On Monday, State Gov. Ralph Northam ordered all restaurants to switch to carryout, delivery, and curbside pickup by tonight.

Photo via Oscar Garcia/GoFundMe

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Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn is encouraging residents to give back to their communities as growing concerns about the coronavirus prompt event cancellations and working remotely.

Alcorn, who represents Vienna and Reston on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, took to social media last week to let local organizations and nonprofits know that his office wants to connect them to volunteers and needed assistance.

“Whenever we have the opportunity to step up and help, we should,” Alcorn said. “There’s a lot of concern in the community.”

As of Sunday, March 15, the Virginia Department of Health says there are 10 presumptive cases of COVID-19 in Fairfax County — a number that officials say is expected to grow.

Alcorn said that local organizations are expecting higher demands for food and assistance, especially from people who work in the service industries who have limited or no sick leave and for seniors, who are at a higher risk of getting more severely ill from the virus.

“The anxiety level, particularly for seniors, is very high,” he said, noting that there is a “sizable” elderly community in the Hunter Mill District. “I think we can do a lot as we get through this public health challenge by reaching out to our more vulnerable communities and our neighbors and let them know that we care.”

By Friday (March 13), Alcorn’s office had created a “How to Help Your Neighbors” list on the Hunter Mill District page on the Fairfax County website.

“Locally, specifically in Hunter Mill, we’re focusing on giving folks something to do,” he said, adding that his office is helping to connect people who want to help with organizations that need extra volunteers.

Expecting a higher demand for underresourced families, Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization that aims to promote self-sufficiency, is looking for donations to help with meal delivery and its food pantry.

Embry Rucker Community Shelter, which is run by Cornerstones, is seeking donations of tissues, hand sanitizer and cleaning products, Alcorn said.

The Herndon Neighborhood Resource Center and Connections for Hope Partnership in Herndon are also looking for cleaning products, he said.

Several organizations, like Second Story in the Vienna area, are asking for gift cards instead of volunteers.

Other opportunities on Alcorn’s list in the Reston area include “non-contact” drivers needed for Meals on Wheels deliveries in the Lawyer’s Road area and donations to Reston-based Shelter House.

People interested in the local organizations’ opportunities focused on the coronavirus can also check out Alcorn’s email newsletter and social media accounts.

“You can contact any of the organizations or call [my] office,” he said. “We’re going to continue expanding the list of needs.”

Alcorn emphasized “one overall need that also we want to make sure gets out there” — blood donations.

“A lot of folks donate blood to Inova,” he said. “We don’t want to get into a situation where [there’s] a low blood supply.”

Additionally, Alcorn is urging people to take “normal precautions,” like practicing good hygiene and frequent hand washing.

“My hope and expectation are that our community will rise to the occasion,” he said.

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If the coronavirus spreads in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia, homeless shelters and other services for low-to-moderate-income individuals and families could be hit hard, officials warn.

Cornerstones, a local nonprofit organization that aims to promote self-sufficiency, is preparing for the potential impact of the respiratory disease. So far, 17 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Virginia, a number that officials say is expected to grow.

Kerrie Wilson, the CEO of Cornerstones, says that nonprofit organizations are at risk. The cascading effect of today’s school closure is expected to produce additional strains on services. Wilson said the nonprofit organization will need to balancing competing needs.

“We’ve seen this with other crises such as hurricanes, pandemics, and the federal government shut down impacts a huge number of households in our region. The Coronavirus poses a real and prolonged threat that can undermine the safety net and our undo the upstream workaround opportunity.”

So far, the nonprofit organization is working to protect the health and safety of its employees, staff, and individuals who depend on Cornerstones’ support and services. All non-essential meetings and community events have been postponed and the center is working with local government and schools to develop plans to continue operations for emergency food and shelter, as well as child and family services.

“While we have been fortunate to have only four documented cases in Fairfax to date, we are preparing for when, not if.”

The nonprofit is looking for donations to help with meal delivery after it requested that volunteers refrain from visiting the Embry Rucker Community Shelter until March 27.

Individuals interested in providing raw food donations can email [email protected] and individuals providing bagged meals can contact [email protected] for further assistance.

Other items — which can be dropped off at a shelf outside the center — are also needed:

  • Shampoo
  • Body wash
  • Men’s and women’s underwear
  • Cleaning products (bleach, Lysol, paper towels, laundry pods, Windex, empty spray bottles)
  • Gift cards for fast food, grocery stores, Target
  • Tissues
  • Hand sanitizer

The food pantry is also in need of the following, especially for seniors who may be shut off from family members and under-resourced families:

  • Grocery store gift cards
  • Gas gift cards
  • Rice
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Cooking Oil
  • Oatmeal
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Clorox Wipes

“We have to balance risk against decision to expand childcare hours to ensure kids and parents have options,” Wilson said. “For people experiencing homelessness and in need of emergency housing and other services, our doors need to remain open – but with options to protect medically fragile guests from those who might have been exposed to risk and to ensure the safety of staff.”

The organization will continue to monitor the situation, which is evolving rapidly, and make additional changes as needed.

“The Coronavirus poses a real and prolonged threat that can undermine the safety net and our undo the upstream workaround opportunity,” Wilson said.

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As prom season approaches, the Reston Community Center is collecting lightly used formal wear to donate for students who might not be able to afford it themselves.

The Diva Central Dress Drive invites people from around the area to bring lightly used dresses, shoes, jewelry, handbags, scarves and shawls to either RCC Lake Anne ( 1609 N. Washington Plaza) or RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road) during specific times throughout the entire month of February.

Hours of operation for the collection will run Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., according to the website.

The program began 18 years ago, and RCC Outreach and Collaboration Director LaTanja Jones said the program helps to ease the financial burden of kids attending school dances.

“From an environmental perspective, it’s a great chance to recycle clothing that is seldom worn more than a handful of times,”  Jones said.

Donations are tax-deductible, according to the event page.

Event organizers ask that the dresses be in good condition, no more than five years old and dry cleaned before donation.

Anyone with followup questions can contact LaTanja Jones for more information.

Image via Reston Community Center/Facebook

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Rotary Club of Reston is soliciting donations ahead of its event to make thousands of meals for families in need.

The Reston Rotary Foundation, the fundraising and grants-making part of the Reston Rotary Club, students from South Lakes High Scool plan to pack 10,000 meals on Saturday (Jan. 11) that will get distributed in schools in poverty-stricken areas across the globe, according to a press release.

The service event through Anython will be done in partnership with Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief organization.

People can donate $1, $2, $5 or more to support the event.

“Initial donations made will support the efforts of the Reston Rotary Foundation’s kick-off event, and when the $10,000 goal has been met to fund the Rise Against Hunger program, additional funds will be used be support the Foundation’s ongoing community efforts,” the press release said.

The community efforts include:

Volunteers are also needed for the January event.

Photo via Rotary Club of Reston/Facebook

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Shepherd’s Center of Oakton-Vienna, a nonprofit that supports aging in place, recently expanded its programs to help seniors in Herndon and Reston.

The group assists the seniors by providing free rides, social outreach and other resources. The group decided to expand around October, a spokesperson told Reston Now.

Susan Garvey, the executive director of the center, lives in the area and noticed a lack of free resources for the elderly community, the spokesperson said.

“The uptick in ride requests have been promising,” the spokesperson said, adding that people who answer the phones are kept busy. “It was a wise step to take.”

The group announced its expansion to Reston and Herndon in its quarterly newsletter, which was published this fall.

Shepherd’s Center receives its funding from donations, fundraisers and corporate sponsors. Anyone who wishes to donate to the center can do so online.

Seniors or others interested in free rides, programs for veterans and various resources can call the center at 703-281-0538.

Photo via Sheperd’s Center/Facebook

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