Morning Notes

FY 2022 Budget Markup Approved — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved a markup package for the county’s fiscal year 2022 budget yesterday (Tuesday) that includes a 1% pay raise for county government employees and an additional $15 million for Fairfax County Public Schools, partly to support compensation increases. [Fairfax County Government]

Virginia Reviewing New Mask Guidelines — The CDC released new guidance yesterday (Tuesday) stating that people who have been fully vaccinated don’t need to wear masks outdoors except when in a big crowd of strangers. Gov. Ralph Northam’s press secretary said in a statement that the governor’s office is reviewing the guidelines “to determine if and where we need to make changes” to Virginia’s mask requirements. [Office of the Governor]

New Police Chief Use-of-Force Record Scrutinized — Incoming Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis lost two lawsuits over his use of force when he worked in the Prince George’s County Police Department in the 1990s. In the first case, the plaintiff said Davis pulled him over without giving a reason and violently arrested him, while the second victim alleged that “Davis and other officers essentially kidnapped him for a night.” [NBC4]

Nonprofit Hits Record for Food Donations to Feed StudentsFood for Neighbors received more than 21,000 pounds of food from over 1,200 households during its April 24th Red Bag Program food collection, including 5,547 pounds from 366 households in Herndon and Reston neighborhoods. [Patch]

Reston Defense Contractor Acquires Seattle-Based AI CompanySAIC announced on Monday (April 26) that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Koverse, a software company that “provides a data management platform enabling artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning on complex, sensitive data.” [Koverse]

Community Helps Reston Resident with Medical Expenses — A GoFundMe for Reston resident David Vlcek, who suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, has raised more than $55,000, getting the fundraiser halfway to its $100,000 goal. Started by a family friend, the campaign funds will help defray medical costs not covered by insurance and pay for airfare for Vlcek’s parents, who need to travel from the Czech Republic. [Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Friday Morning Notes

Northam to Extend School Year into Summer — Gov. Ralph Northam will announce a plan to extend the school year into the summer today. N details have been released, but the plan is intended to help students catch up. [Inside NOVA]

Reston Association Board to Meet Next Week — RA’s Board of Directors will hold a special online meeting on Monday evening to have a consultation with counsel. [RA]

Food and Coat Drives Set for Tomorrow in Reston — Cornerstones’ Coat Closet is accepting winter items from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at the North County Government Center while Stuff the Bus will have buses parked at the center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for donations. [Reston Patch]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Fairfax County is changing up its Stuff the Bus food drive this winter to support increased demand for food while accommodating challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Typically held twice a year, Stuff the Bus will kick off its 10th year of existence with buses parked at select locations throughout the county from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Jan. 30 and Feb. 6.

During the two-day food drive, community members can stop by the buses to donate nonperishable food that will help restock local food pantries, which have reported an uptick in the need for food and drops in volunteer rates during the pandemic.

To prevent the potential transmission of the novel coronavirus, donors should wear a mask or other face-covering when at a Stuff the Bus site, and Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) is directing people to place their donations directly inside the buses through their rear doors, rather than approaching the front door or the bus drivers.

Fairfax County is also encouraging people to make online monetary donations to the participating nonprofits in lieu of donating food in person.

According to the county, virtual donations give food pantries more flexibility, allowing them to purchase in bulk, stock up on fresh food, and obtain “culturally appropriate foods, which better meet the needs of the diverse communities they serve.” It is also less labor-intensive.

“Nonprofits often rely on the work of volunteers to sort and shelve donations,” NCS says. “The COVID-19 virus has greatly impacted volunteers’ ability to serve, especially older adults or those with pre-existing conditions.”

The Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office will accept donations at 1801 Cameron Glen Drive. A complete list of all locations is available online.

Donations at the McLean Government Center will benefit LINK, which provides emergency food to people in the Herndon, Sterling, and Ashburn communities. The Patrick Henry Library drive will support Western Fairfax Christian Ministries on Jan. 30 and Cornerstones on Feb. 6.

The two Providence District locations — the supervisor’s office and James Lee Community Center — will support the Annandale Christian Community for Action on Jan. 30 and the Falls Church Community Service Council on Feb. 6.

A list of the most frequently requested food items can be found on the Stuff the Bus website.

Based on unemployment and poverty data, the Capital Area Food Bank estimates in its October 2020 Hunger Report that there has been a 48% to 60% increase in food insecurity in the D.C. region since the pandemic began.

Image via Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services

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The First Responders Council of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce delivered meals to first responders during the holidays.

The annual drive, which has been in effect for the last 11 years, raised more than $6,000 for more than 500 meals in Reston last month. Food was purchased from local restaurants that are struggled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Now more than ever the restaurants and First Responders are deservingly soaking up any bit of support from the community,’ GRCC wrote in a statement.

In previous years, food was donated by restaurant instead of being purchased.

Drive sponsors included the following :

  • Dave & JoAnne Adams Group – Coldwell Bank Realty
  • CST Group CPAs, PC
  • Thompson Hospitality
  • Chick-Fil-A – North Point Village
  • Force Security Services, LLC
  • Offit Kurman
  • BluePrint Financial Group
  • BEI
  • Pineapple Payments
  • Edward Jones Investments – Gene Summerlin
  • Maggie Parker
  • Huey & Associates
  • Fatech International
  • Katherine & John Deming
  • Ellen & Mike Jennings
  • Allen & Jennifer Herzberg
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Tuesday Morning Notes

County Considers Replacing Parking Lots with Affordable Housing — The county is considering a plan to swap some of its extra parking space at the Fairfax County Government Center for affordable housing. [Greater Greater Washington]

Cloth Mask Donations Exceed 2020 Goal — Fairfax County has exceeded its goal for cloth face mask donations for this year. Overall, 77,010 face coverings were donated and distributed this year after the county put out a call in May. [Fairfax County Government]

South Lakes Senior Organizes Toy Drive Remotely — Amanda Smith, a senior at South Lakes High School, planned a toy drive through the National Honor Society. Nearly 500 donated toys were taken to Arlington for Santa’s workshop. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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This holiday season, Fairfax County Police Department’s Victim Services is raising donations for children of victims involved in violent crimes.

Victim Services at FCPD supports victims’ families in many ways, according to Supervisor of Hunter Mill District Walter Alcorn. This holiday season, the division will be working to eliminate some of the financial hardship for some families.

“The Fairfax County Police Department’s Victim Services Division provides critical services to child victims and witnesses of domestic and sexual violence,” Alcorn wrote in a recent newsletter.” Many of these children will not get to celebrate holidays this year due to the financial burden that comes with being a victim of crime.”

FCPD is accepting gift cards from stores for children of all ages, Alcorn says, from stores including:

  • Giant
  • Target
  • Safeway
  • Walmart
  • TJ Maxx
  • Kohl’s
  • Local restaurants
  • Other clothing stores

Gift cards can be dropped off at the Reston District Police Station (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) or mailed to the station addressed as:

C/O Victim Services/ PFC Horita

Reston District Police Station

1801 Cameron Glen Drive
Reston, VA 20190

For more information about FCPD’s Victim Services, visit its website.

Photo via the Fairfax County Government website

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Looking to donate toys this holiday season? The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Stations are collecting donations for the regional Quantico Toys for Tots campaign.  

The Quantico toy collection will run through Dec. 13. However, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station collections are only running through Dec. 12. Individuals can leave small donations in collection boxes outside the front door of each station every day until 8 p.m. 

These hubs will accept donations, however, they will not be distributing supplies, according to the campaign website.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Stations collected around 12,000 toys last year. The entire Quantico campaign collected more than 108,000 toys that were distributed to more than 106,000 children.

Quantico’s Toys for Tots program is run by the U.S. Marine Corps with a mission to collect new toys for distribution to underprivileged children for Christmas. The non-profit aims to inspire these children to become responsible, productive and patriotic citizens through these gifts.

Those who are interested in donating but do not live near a Fire and Rescue Station can visit the Quantico website for a list of more donation centers.

Photo by Ryan Fields/Unsplash

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The Fairfax NAACP announced yesterday (Thursday) that they will be distributing nearly $20,000 in COVID-19 relief funding to several different non-profit organizations in the community, including to Reston’s Shelter House and Cornerstones. 

In a statement from the Fairfax NAACP, they explained that the pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color in multiple ways, from higher infection and death rates to housing and employment insecurity to distance learning inequities. 

“This public health crisis has exposed and exasperated the inequities that already existed in our society,” said Sean Perryman, the director of the Fairfax NAACP. “We will get through this together.”

Healthcare-centered donations to Shelter House will fill gaps that the government and other non-profits aren’t able to fill by supporting their Quarantine/Protection/Isolation/Decompression sites, according to Joe Meyer, the CEO of Shelter House. The donations will further help people of color dealing with COVID-19 and homelessness.

Assistance towards Cornerstones will be directed to individuals facing eviction due to COVID-19. According to Greg White, the COO of Cornerstones, the NAACP’s contribution will help support low-income community members in rebuilding their economic, mental, and physical stability. 

The Fairfax NAACP also distributed funds towards helping small businesses, as well as providing distanced learning technology for underserved students. 

Image via Fairfax NAACP

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Fairfax County is putting together a survey to direct funding for the Consolidated Community Funding Pool — which goes to help local nonprofits and organizations. The County is looking for public input on where the biggest needs are.

The goal of the fund is supplement the county’s ability to fill human services needs.

“To determine how these funds should be allocated, Fairfax County, with significant community input, establishes categories that are reflective of the needs residents feel are most important in their communities,” the County said in a press release. “In preparation for the next funding cycle, the county seeking your insight on our current category areas”

The categories are:

  • Financial Stability
  • Food and Nutrition
  • Health
  • Housing
  • Literacy/Educational Development/Attainment
  • Positive Behaviors and Healthy Relationships
  • Support/Community/Social Networks

A survey for prioritizing needs is available online, and responses are welcome until Friday, Oct. 30. All responses will be kept anonymous.

Staff photo by Ashley Hopko

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With more residents spending time at home, local and regional nonprofits are being a surge in drop-off donations.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, The Closet of Greater Herndon, a nonprofit organization in the Town of Herndon, has seen a spike in the number of cars arriving with items to donate to its store.

To meet growing demand in an efficient manner, The Closet has launched a new donation and drop-off center.

The center was constructed in collaboration with HomeAid Northern Virginia, which builds and renovates homeless shelters and supportive housing facilities.

“This is a different project than perhaps what is ‘typical’ for our work with HomeAid,” said Jack Gallagher, division president, Mid-Atlantic region, for Richmond American Homes. “But The Closet is a partner organization in need of construction support, and their general mission is well aligned with the same community we serve.”

Here’s more from The Closet on the project:

Led by HomeAid Northern Virginia, construction of the donation center was already fortuitously underway when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, closing the store and slowing the construction process. Through deliberative and creative coordination, HANV worked with its building partners to deploy small crews of essential construction workers at different time intervals to move the project forward. The opening of the new donation center was ultimately (if not intentionally) well-timed to “the great decluttering.”

The uptick in donated items expands the ability of The Closet to support local Northern Virginia nonprofits. Founded by local churches/faith-based organizations 25+ years ago, The Closet’s profits supports local organizations such as Shelter House, Cornerstones, Fellowship Square, and Helping Hungry Kids. The Closet also provide clothing and other household goods free to families and individuals referred from several Fairfax County public and private human service agencies, as well as awards annual scholarship grants to select students from five area schools in Fairfax and Loudoun counties (South Lakes, Herndon, Oakton, Park View & Mountain View High Schools).

The architecture of the structure draws inspiration from the Town of Herndon’s railroad history and the Washington & Old Dominion railroad, which is just steps away from the facility.

Photos via The Closet

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In the 10 years he has spent working on Reston non-profit Cornerstones’ annual Thanksgiving Food Drive, Nate King has never seen a year like this.

King, the donations and drives coordinator for Cornerstones, said the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has created an increase in demand for food for families in need — one that he hasn’t seen in the past decade of working for the non-profit.

“The downturn in the economy has increased the number of families coming in for assistance to the emergency food pantry,” King said.
Due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, King said he anticipates about a 25 % increase in the number of families who will be receiving donations from stones during their annual Thanksgiving Food Drive.

Typically, Cornerstones provides food for between 700 to 750 families in Fairfax County just before Thanksgiving, but this holiday season King anticipates that number to jump to about 1,050 families as more families have gone to the Cornerstones requesting help.

“This far out-stripes the numbers we have seen in the past years,” King said.

With no end of the pandemic in sight, Cornerstone’s Food Drive will look a little different this year. King said Cornerstones will extend the Thanksgiving Food Drive to five days to give more time for those who wish to donate, to avoid crowding.

For the families receiving food, Cornerstones is combining their Thanksgiving Food Drive with their annual Gift for Kids Drive, which provides underprivileged kids with presents for the holidays. But this year, to cut down on crowding during the pandemic, Cornerstones is combining the events, giving families gift cards, instead of wrapped presents, along with a box of Thanksgiving food items.

King said Cornerstones will implement some social distancing measures this year by cutting down on the number of volunteers who will work at one time, requiring volunteers to wear masks and to undergo temperature checks and to do much of their work organizing food boxes outside.

This year, families will receive their food and gifts through a makeshift drive-through, where volunteers will drop the items off in cars, instead of having families go inside to collect them.

Food collection for the Cornerstones’ Thanksgiving Food Drive will take place on November 16 to 19, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Nov. 20, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Reston.

Those interested in donating to Cornerstones’ Thanksgiving Food Drive can find more information online.

Photo courtesy Cornerstones

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Reston’s Giving Circle of HOPE has given out $45,000 to support three local organizations in its 2020 grant cycle.

The non-profit organization awarded the grants to support organizations that are meeting “critical community needs amidst the financial and operational challenges of a pandemic,” according to an announcement.

The following organizations received grants:

Food Pantry: Dulles South Food Pantry, providing nutritious food and personal supplies to those in need in the Dulles South and surrounding areas

Rental Assistance: Herndon-Reston FISH, providing help to Northern Virginians in short-term financial crisis with rental assistance, paying utilities, and other needs

Emerging Needs: Culmore Clinic, offering low-cost services to patients in the Culmore-Bailey’s Crossroads community who would not otherwise have access to any kind of medical care

Giving Circle of HOPE is a grassroots organization that started in 2004 to support volunteerism and philanthropy. So far, the organization has dispersed $1 million with 159 grants to 66 nonprofit organizations, according to a company release.

Photo courtesy of Giving Circle

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Although the return to school will be atypical this year, a Reston-based nonprofit organization is seeking donations for its back-to-school drive.

Shelter House, which is located at 12310 Pinecrest Road, has created an Amazon-based wish list. All donations for the Shelter House should be directed to the Shelter House.

Items requested include headphones, face bandanas, gloves, printers, hand sanitizers, lunch boxes, tissue, rulers, binders, and pens.

Anyone who wishes to arrange more specific deliveries can contact [email protected] Monetary donations are also accepted online.

Founded in 1981, Shelter House is a nonprofit organization that offers crisis intervention, housing, and supportive services to homeless families and victims of domestic violence in the community.

Photo by Tim Guow/Unsplash

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Thursday Morning Notes

Big Contract for Reston Company — “The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded Reston-based government technology company Octo Consulting Group an $11.8 million contract to provide framework and architecture services for the GSA’s System for Award Management (SAM).” [Virginia Business Monthly]

Public Art Reston to Host Virtual Talk Today — DeWitt Godfrey will discuss his latest work at Valley & Park, a new townhouse development in Reston. His sculpture is titled ‘Simon,’ and is expected to be installed this month. [Public Art Reston]

Collects for Kids Campaign –The Foundation for Fairfax County Public Schools is collecting donations for school supplies. Donations can be made online. [FCPS Foundation]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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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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