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 told Tysons Reporter. “There’s a lot of concern in the community.”
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.
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.
“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,” he said.
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.
Several organizations in the Vienna area are asking for financial help instead of volunteers, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“Gift cards help meet our immediate needs and can also be used for online ordering, for example, if young mothers need diapers but don’t want to risk going in public with their babies,” Christine Bartell, Second Story’s resource management director, told Tysons Reporter.
Bartell noted that Visa gift cards are the best option, but Second Story will also accept grocery store and Amazon gift cards via mail to “Attn: Christine Bartell, PO Box 694, Dunn Loring, VA 22027.”
“Since we’re limiting contact between youth and volunteers, gift cards for food will be especially important,” Bartell said.
Meanwhile, the Committee for Helping Others is urging people to donate online, send a check to “CHO, P.O. Box 233, Vienna, VA 22183” or to select “CHO Inc.” as the charity to support while shopping on Amazon Smile.
Alcorn added that he is frequently discussing the coronavirus with Town of Vienna officials and communicating with them about the needs of organizations in the town.
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.”
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.”
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.