Annual Blanket and Coat Drive for Syrian Refugees Kicks Off Next Week

The NOVA Relief Center is hosting a blanket and coat drive for Syrian refugees. The Hunter Mill District Office is once again collecting blankets and coats for the drive beginning Nov. 23 through Dec. 9.

All items will be shipped free of charge to three refugee camps in Jordan this winter.

Locally, donations can be dropped off at the Hunter Mill District Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive), as well as at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints(1515 Poplar Grove Drive in Reston and 2727 Centreville Road in Herndon).

Other drop-off locations are also available online.

The center accepted clean items that are new or in gently-used condition. Sweaters and sweatshirts are also welcome. Gloves, hats and scarves must be in new condition only.

More information about the drive is available online.

Photo via NOVA Relief Center

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YMCA in Reston Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Fundraising Gala

The YMCA Fairfax County Reston is hosting a fundraising gala in celebration of its 20th anniversary.

This year’s annual gala will be held at the YMCA (12196 Sunset Hills Road) from 6-11 p.m. next Saturday (Nov. 16) and feature a dinner party, silent auction and after-party, according to the event page.

“Our mission ensures that no one is turned away from access to ‘Y’ programs and membership,” the page said.

Last year, the gala raised $280,000 for the center, according to the  YMCA’s website.

Individual tickets start at $150 and sponsorships start at $1,000.

Image via YMCA Fairfax County Reston

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Upcoming Fundraiser to Benefit Indigenous Amazon Population

An upcoming fundraiser in Reston will help save the Amazon Rainforest.

There will be family fun activities including a yard sale, a ranger station, live music and crafts for kids at the Pony Barn Picnic Area (Steeplechase Drive and Triplecrown Road) on Sunday (Oct. 27) from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., according to a press release.

Admission is free but all of the donation funds from the event will go towards the Amazon Conservation Team, an organization that preserves indigenous communities and natural ecosystems, the press release said.

“The Amazon Rainforest supplies 20 percent of the oxygen we need to live on Earth; however, the size of three football fields are being deforested every minute at the Amazon, according to latest government data,” the press release said.

The event is sponsored by several local businesses around the Reston community.

All are welcome to attend. Anyone wanting to sponsor a yardsale table can email the event organizer.

Photo via Reston Association

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Tuesday Morning Notes

‘Share a Haircut’ at Local Hair Cuttery Locations —If you bring a child up to 18 years of age to any local Hair Cuttery through August 15, the business will donate a free haircut certificate to children in the community. [Reston Patch]

North Hills Clay Tennis Courts Renovations In Progress — The clay courts are scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2020. [Reston Association]

Farmers & Makers Market is Today — Local artisans and farmers will offer a variety of items at the weekly market, which runs through November. It takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Reston Town Center. [Reston Town Center]

Photo by vantagehill/Flickr

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Noodles World Kitchen to Donate Part of Tonight’s Sales to Coates ES

(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) Diners at the Noodles World Kitchen in Herndon tonight (March 20) can support a local public school in Herndon.

The management at the Noodles World Kitchen at 2405 Centreville Road will donate 25 percent of tonight’s sales to the Lutie Lewis Coates Elementary School.

Customers who eat the noodle chain — formerly known as Noodles and Company — between 4-8 p.m. can tell the restaurant staff that they are supporting Coates.

Image via Google Maps

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Not Your Average Joe’s to Host March Fundraiser for Hungry Kids

Diners at Not Your Average Joe’s on select days in March can help raise money for a nonprofit that combats student hunger.

On the four Tuesdays in March, the restaurant (1845 Fountain Drive) will donate 15 percent of bills for diners who ask to have their meals support Helping Hungry Kids.

The nonprofit gives food packages to more than 400 elementary school students in Northern Virginia who don’t have enough food on the weekends.

Most of the 12 elementary schools that receive the packs are ones in Reston and Herndon, which include:

  • Clearview
  • Coates
  • Dogwood
  • Terraset
  • Aldrin
  • Armstrong
  • Forest Edge
  • Lake Anne
  • Hunters Woods

Each pack, which contains non-perishable food for two breakfasts, two dinners and several snacks, costs about $6, according to the nonprofit’s website.

File photo

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Honorees Unveiled for 2019 Best of Reston Awards

The finalists were recently announced for the 2019 Best of Reston Awards.

A reception hosted by Cornerstones, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and SOS International LLC (SOSi) on Tuesday (Feb. 19) unveiled the honorees.

An awards gala will take place on April 4 to celebrate the honorees:

SOSi presented Cornerstones with a $50,000 check at the event. The community nonprofit also received a $100,000 check from Bob and Lisa Van Hoecke.

Started nearly three decades ago, the annual Best of Reston Awards recognize individuals, businesses and community groups that have helped Reston and Herndon through philanthropy and volunteering.

The gala on April 4 is set to be held at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents Street).

Photo via Chip McCrea Photography

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‘Bake for Good’ Program Heading to McNair Elementary School

An upcoming program at a Herndon public school is going against the grain of conventional education by teaching students the value of community service and baking.

Students at McNair Elementary School (2499 Thomas Jefferson Drive) can expect the Bake for Good Program to arrive at their school next month.

Meant for fourth- to sixth-graders, the free program teaches students “the value of giving back to their community while learning to bake bread,” according to Fairfax County Public Schools. Representatives from King Arthur Flour, the sponsoring organization, will present the cross-curricular program, which has three main goals: learn, bake and share.

“Students will use practical applications of math, science, and comprehension skills while learning how they can make a positive impact in their local community,” according to the FCPS announcement.

Each student will then bake two loaves of bread — one to take home and one to donate to LINK, which provides emergency food and financial help to people in the western part of the county.

The program begins at McNair Elementary School on March 12.

Image via Google Maps

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Fundraising Starts to Help Family After Herndon Home Fire

A GoFundMe page is raising funds for the family displaced after a fire broke out in their home in Herndon yesterday.

The campaign, which was created and activated today (Feb. 1), aims to help Tim Gaffney’s family cover the costs of “small things that add up” — clothes, toiletries, shoes, coats and more — with the hope that insurance will cover the larger losses.

In just a few hours, the GoFundMe page has raised nearly $2,000.

The Red Cross has put the family up in a hotel, according to the fundraiser.

The GoFundMe page says the following:

January 31, 2019 Tim Gaffney woke to the smell of smoke. The entire garage was engulfed and it was quickly moving to the house. He woke Ryan and Tara and they were able to get out. Janeen and Sofia were in MA at a skating event.

Flash forward 24 hours and my oldest friend in the world and her family are homeless.

The Red Cross has put them up in a hotel and friends have rallied around them. But this is just day one.

Our hope of course is that insurance will cover the larger losses. House. Cars. Boat. It’s all the small things that add up. Clothes. Toiletries. Shoes. Coats.

We are asking for any help you can provide to get this family through the next really difficult months until they find their new normal.

Anyone not comfortable with sending money is more than welcome to send gift cards. Anything — I mean anything — will be so appreciated.

Thank you on on behalf of Tim, Janeen, Ryan, Sofia and Tara.

Firefighters had the fire under control in about two hours after arriving at the house in the 12100 block of Westwood Hills Drive around 6:38 a.m. on Jan. 31.

The three people in the home at the time of the fire were able to self-evacuate. Two of the occupants received treatment for smoke inhalation, according to the fire department.

Photo via @ffxfirerescue/Twitter

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Capitol Steps Fundraiser Nets $400,000 for Embry Rucker Community Shelter

The 36th annual Capitol Steps fundraiser performance on Sunday (Jan. 27) raised nearly $400,000 for Cornerstones to help families in the Embry Rucker Community Shelter.

The D.C.-based political satire group is known for mocking both sides of the aisle in songs and comedy skits. A sold-out crowd of 700 attendees came to this year’s annual benefit show at the Hyatt Regency Reston.

“Even though we live in one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, more than 1,000 men, woman and children — 30 percent of whom are children — are homeless in this community,” Jeff Detwiler, the president and chief executive officer of Long and Foster, said before Capitol Steps performed. “We believe that supporting Cornerstones in its mission makes us as a community stronger.”

Bob Van Hoecke, co-chair of the event, noted that some attendees may be experiencing stress from the longest partial federal government shutdown, which ended days before the performance. “Cornerstones is here for anyone in our community in need because of the funds we are able to raise tonight and throughout the year.”

Del. Ken Plum rallied the crowd for the annual “Empty the Shelter” Paddle Auction and then thanked them after they raised $100,000 for Cornerstones’ rapid re-housing programs.

At the end of the night, a total of $412,557 had been raised for the cause, according to information provided by Cornerstones — a sizable increase from recent years. (The annual benefit performance raised roughly $340,000 in 2018 and almost $300,000 in 2017.)

Photos by Chip McCrea Photography

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Reston Restaurant Feeds 100 Dulles TSA Workers, Offers Discounts to Furloughed Employees

Updated at 10:45 a.m. — Includes information about feeding the TSA workers from Gaurang Shah.

Vapiano in Reston Town Center has been pitching in to help government workers as the partial federal government shutdown looms on without an end in sight.

The recent efforts stemmed from a desire to “take care of those who take care of us during this political standoff,” according to a press release.

Earlier this week, the Italian restaurant at 1875 Explorer Street offered 50 percent off for furloughed federal workers on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Gaurang Shah, the local behind the Reston Going Out Group on Meetup.com and a Vapiano regular, approached the restaurant with an idea: ask for food donations to serve to TSA workers.

Vapiano then created a menu of homestyle Italian meals. Shah told Reston Now that he pitched in supplies and other food, along with reaching out to a TSA Supervisor at Dulles International Airport who agreed with the proposal.

Shah said that hundreds of TSA workers came to the restaurant for the food.

Image via Vapiano/Twitter

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‘Time Stands Still’ Auditions and More This Weekend in Reston

There’s plenty to do around Reston this weekend in addition to the many events for Reston’s 34th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration.

If you’re looking to avoid the cold weather, plenty of indoor activities are scheduled for this weekend.

Tomorrow (Jan. 19)

Stuff the Bus (9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) —  Head Herndon’s Fox Mill Giant (2551 John Milton Drive) to support Helping Hungry Kids as a part of “Stuff the Bus,” which takes place at various locations around the county to benefit local nonprofit food pantries. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova will join the event at 11 a.m. to assist with the food collection and also discuss the county’s resources for people impacted by the federal government shutdown.

Fantastic Films at Reston: A Wrinkle in Time (11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) — The Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) plans to show the 2018 movie, which is based on the classic book by Madeleine L’Engle, with warm cocoa.

“Time Stands Still” auditions (1-4 p.m.) — The Reston Community Players is looking for people to come audition for a show that examines the lives of one couple making a living out of documenting the horrors of war. The auditions, which will be held at 266 Sunset Park Drive in Herndon, will consist of cold readings provided that day. Auditions will also be held at the same time and place on Sunday.

Chess club (1-2:30 p.m.) — Locals can learn chess from experienced instructors at the Herndon Fortnightly Library (768 Center Street).

Sunday (Jan. 20)

Crys Matthews performance (2 p.m.) — Matthews, a singer-songwriter from Herndon, is scheduled to perform her songs at CenterStage at RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road). Tickets cost $15 for Reston residents.

Winter Restaurant Week ends (all day) — Sunday is the last day for locals to enjoy prix fixe menus at the four Reston restaurants that are participating in Winter Restaurant Week.

Photo via Reston Community Players/Facebook

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Chipotle to Fundraise for South Lakes HS Girls Basketball on Monday

Seahawks fans can head to the Chipotle in the South Lakes Village Shopping Center next week to help raise funds for South Lakes High School girls basketball.

The Chipotle at 11160 South Lakes Drive will donate 33 percent of proceeds for customers who display the flyer or mention the Seahawks.

The fundraiser runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 21).

South Lakes High School girls varsity basketball won their eighth consecutive game at Washington-Lee High School on Jan. 8.

Photo via South Lakes High School Basketball/Facebook

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Tips for your winter wardrobe — If you find dressing for the cold challenging, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue has a handy infographic about how to layer up appropriately. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

Wine and wooden sign stenciling — Learn how to make a wooden sign, starting with a precut piece of pine wood, while sipping wine. The class at ArtSpace Herndon (750 Center Street) runs from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight. [ArtSpace Herndon]

JAG sells residential part of Tall Oaks Village Center — Jefferson Apartment Group announced on Friday that it closed on the sale of the residential portion of the planned redevelopment of the center to Stanley Martin Homes. Back in October demolition began on a portion of the property, and construction of the residential project is slated to begin this summer. [Bisnow]

Town of Herndon deems a house concert series is in violation — The host of The Crib house concerts received a violation notice taped to his front door from the town for the Nov. 17 concert in his home, saying that the activity was “an indoor entertainment use” not permitted on the property. The owner has appealed the violation decision. [Herndon Connection]

Winter coat closet — With the winter weather here to stay, now’s the time to donate any unwanted coats, hats, gloves, mittens and scarves to the Hunter Mill District Winter Coat Closet, which is run jointly by Cornerstones and the Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office. Locals can drop off items at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. [Cornerstones]

Photo by Marjorie Copson

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