Reston, VA

The South Lakes High School PTSA is once again organizing the “Do It Your Way 0.5K,” an annual fundraiser that supports the school’s food pantry.

This year, the event will go virtual. Participants can pick up race packets at the Lake Anne Brew House in order to complete “650 steps anywhere,” according to organizers.

The packet includes a portable Donut station and a pantry-branded mask. Other goodies include a race bib and a thank you from event sponsors. The first 250 registrants will receive special gifts, according to organizers.

Packets will be available for pickup on Friday, Oct. 16 from 4-6 p.m and on Saturday, Oct. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Aspen Jewelry Design is also offering a raffle for a “VOTE” necklace. Tickets are available for $5 each or 5 tickets for $20.

Participants can register online as a student $10), adult ($25), and a family up to five ($60).

Last year’s event brought nearly 200 participants to Lake Anne Plaza for a rainy event. More than $18,000 was raised at the fundraiser.

Organizers hope to top that number this year, especially as needs grow every week to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pantry provides food to an average of 150 SLHS pyramid families per week.

Photo by Holly Vanderhoof

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity has become increasingly common. Community members will have the chance to ease the burden by donating non-perishable goods to an upcoming campaign.

Stuff the Bus, a typically biannual effort, organized collections dates on Saturday (May 16) and Tuesday (May 19) from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. to help fill the requests of local food banks, according to the event page.

“Unlike past years, the buses will not be parked in grocery store parking lots. Instead, buses will be parked in less-frequented lots,” the page said.

Around Reston, people can find a donation area at Hunter Mill District Supervisor’s Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive), which will benefit Cornerstones, according to the event page.

In Great Falls, people can stop by the Great Falls Library (9830 Georgetown Pike).

“Because of the extraordinary events taking place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for food has surged in Fairfax County, so Stuff the Bus is again stepping up to feed hungry people,” the event page said.

Photo by Austin Kehmeier/Unsplash

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It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the food supply chain, making it harder for some food pantries and food banks to keep their shelves fully stocked.

South Lakes High School’s food pantry is not insulated from these struggles, according to pantry coordinator Roberta Gosling. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the food pantry quickly shifted from its location at the school to a new distribution and collection model.

Since schools closed in mid-March, food is collected and packed at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. Volunteers then drive bags of food to SLHS on distribution day.

Gosling says food distribution has grown from 40 to 73 bags in just a few weeks. She expects that number to grow between 25 to 50 percent each week.

The pantry urgently needs the following items:

  • Pasta
  • Pasta sauce
  • Tomatoes/sauce
  • Dried beans
  • Rice
  • Canned meat
  • Canned veggies
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly
  • Cereal
  • Crackers
  • Granola bars
  • Deodorant

Donations can be shipped to Good Shepherd Lutheran Church (1133 Reston Avenue, Herndon, Va. 20170). Non-contact drop off on Mondays from 2-4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon.

More information about the pantry is available online.

Photo by Holly Vanderhoof

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(This story was updated to clarify that Reston Strong is an ongoing effort).

Several community organizations are banding together to power a no-contact donation drive in Reston.

Reston Strong, the name of the community-based action group, and the CORE Foundation, a local nonprofit organization, are collecting donations at various storage pods in the area. Community partners include Cornerstones, Helping Hungry Kids, Reston Hospital Center, and the CORE Foundation.

The no-contact storage pods were donated by UNITS, a national moving and portable storage company. Residents can drop off requested items at the pods. The locations are below:

  • Cornerstones (11484 Washington Plaza West): Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • YMCA Reston (12196 Sunset Hills Road): Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • South Lakes Village Center, near Safeway (11120 South Lakes Drive): Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • North Point Village Center (1452 Reston Parkway): Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

All the collected items will be donated to CornerstonesReston Hospital Center and Helping Hungry Kids — which support people within the Reston community who are in need of assistance.

Individuals interested in helping manage the project at specific sites can sign up online but must abide by safety rules and precautions. Volunteer slots are available through May 31.

Ashley Hopko and Fatimah Waseem contributed reporting.

Photo via Reston Strong/Facebook

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South Lakes High School’s food pantry — which serves students in the South Lakes pyramid — is accepting a final round of drop-off donations today.

The pantry is expected to close its physical location today after Fairfax County Public Schools’ moved to close all school buildings today (Monday), except 18 sites that operate as food distribution centers.

Drop-off donations will be accepted today from until 10:45 a.m. at the school (11400 South Lakes Drive). Bags will be distributed from 2:30-4 p.m.

Roberta Gosling, a coordinator of the efforts, says that distribution is expected to shift to coordination with county-wide initiatives.

Gosling stressed that the situation is “very fluid.”

As of Saturday, the pantry volunteers had originally planned to scale back hours and offer 200 pre-packed “grab and go” bags on a weekly basis. Volunteers were also expected to assemble later this week to assemble the packages.

The pantry is in need of the following items:

  • Pasta sauce
  • Canned tomatoes
  • Pasta
  • Dry rice
  • Dry beans
  • Cereal
  • Oil
  • Peanut Butter
  • Crackers in boxes
  • Oatmeal
  • Applesauce
  • Soup
  • Bar soap
  • Toilet Paper
  • Tuna
  • Microwave popcorn (individual packages)
  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste
  • Maxi pads (24-unit packs)

Photo by Roberta Gosling

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With the holiday season approaching, organizations are setting up campaigns to help those in need.

The Reston Community Center teamed up with the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and Cornerstones to collect food and basic necessities, while Food For Neighbors is sponsoring an online fundraiser to provide meals for those struggling with food insecurity.

On the Food For Neighbors’ website, anyone can donate money to help feed families. They are asking for amounts in $50 increments, which will provide a meal for one family.

Under the RCC, there are more than a dozen locations where people can drop off non-perishable items, including food, paper towels, plastic bins and hygiene items.

They are looking for food items that are unopened, unused and unexpired, including coffee, tea, canned products, oatmeal, dry beans and rice, peanut butter, jellies, flour, sugar, condiments and cooking oil.

Volunteers can sign up online to sort the items.

Below, is a list of locations where people can drop off new items.

  • RCC Hunters Woods (2310 Colts Neck Road)
  • RCC Lake Anne (1609-A N. Washington Plaza)
  • Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce (1886 Metro Center Drive, Suite 230)
  • Atlantic Union Bank (1800 Robert Fulton Drive, Suite 105)
  • Hunter Mill District Office (1801 Cameron Glen Drive)
  • Guide Post Montessori Herndon (13251 Woodland Park Road)
  • Long and Foster Realtors (2100 Reston Pkwy, Suite 102)
  • Reston Association — HQ (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive)
  • Reston Associaton — Central Services Facility (12250 Sunset Hills Road)
  • Reston Association — Walker Nature Center (11450 Glade Drive)
  • State Farm Insurance (11868 Sunrise Valley Drive, Suite 200)
  • Tall Oaks Assisted Living (12052 North Shore Drive)
  • The Harrison at Reston Town Center (1800 Jonathan Way)
  • Washington Hilton Dulles (13869 Park Center Road)
  • YMCA Fairfax County Reston (12196 Sunset Hills Road)

Photo via Facebook

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The South Lakes High School PTSA is sponsoring a 0.5k run to help support the school’s food pantry this Sunday. From 3-5 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will go directly toward the pantry, which provides students in the SLHS pyramid food and toiletries.

The run is titled, “The Best 650 Steps You’ll Ever Take.”  The run begins and ends at the Lake Anne Brew House, with a stop in between for donuts and water.

To prepare for Halloween, organizers will be offering medals for the biggest team, best costume, most exuberant, best-dressed team and any other categories the judges “deem worthy,” according to organizers.

Registration is open online. Individuals can register as a student, adults, teams or families.

Raffle prizes include a diamond necklace with a value of $1,500 that was donated. Aspen Jewelry Designs. Other prices include a gift basket from Custom Ink, peanut putter basket, gift cards and a massage by Meg Donnelly.

The race is sponsored by Lake Anne Brew House, Reston Community Center, Restoration Church, Century 21 Redwood, CustomInk, Aspen Jewelry Designs, Dev Technology, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Del. Ken Plum, OmMade Peanut Butter, AKG Designs, and Friends of Lake Anne.

Photo via Roberta Gosling

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