Tysons, VA

Sen. Tim Kaine Receives Positive Antibody Test — “Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine said Thursday he and his wife, Anne, tested positive for coronavirus antibodies earlier this month after experiencing symptoms of the respiratory disease in March and April.” [Patch]

How’s the Local Real Estate Market Faring? — Patch compiled local numbers for homes that came on the market, ones that went under contract and closed sales. [Tysons Corner Patch, McLean Patch, Vienna Patch]

Expanded Contact Tracing — “The Fairfax County Health Department is pleased to partner with the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) to hire and train staff for COVID-19 contact tracing efforts… To meet the need for large-scale contact tracing efforts, IPHI will hire and train contact tracing staff, community health workers, and other staff as needed.” [Fairfax County]

No Fourth of July Festivities — “The Fairfax County Park Authority’s Summer Entertainment Series will be canceled through July due to public safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Fourth of July events have been canceled, too.” [Fairfax County]

Photo courtesy Jae

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A 5K in the Town of Vienna has raised $6,000 so far to benefit people facing food insecurity.

Caffe Amouri and the Vienna Business Association (VBA) are hosting the Feeding Families 5K, which started on Friday, May 15. The VBA announced the latest donation amount in an email today (Tuesday).

The route winds from Caffe Amouri to Auto Body of Vienna, then to Plaka Grill over to Waters Field and then up to Skorpio’s Maggio’s Greek Family Restaurant before heading back to Caffe Amouri.

Participants who sign up will have until May 31 to run the route and turn in their results via email. Prize categories include “best time running” and “best time walking.”

All donations — including the registration fee — will buy food for families in need, according to the VBA.

Image via Caffe Amouri/Facebook

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This op-ed was submitted by Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik on May 19. It does not reflect the opinions of Tysons Reporter. We publish op-eds and letters to the editor of specific interest to the Tysons community. Contributions may be edited for length or content. 

The people of Fairfax County are strong and resilient, more than ever during this time of COVID-19. When I speak with community members, one common question comes up: “How can I help?” Wash your hands. Social distance. Then, help feed your neighbor.

Food insecurity is on the rise. During a recent two-week period, the Capital Area Food Bank reported a demand increase of 300% compared to the same period last year. There are 70,000 families living in poverty in Fairfax County. We need to address this problem, for access to food is a human right.

I’m calling on the Providence District to reach into your pantry or grocery cart to buy a can, give a can, and donate to Food for Others. We can tackle food insecurity in our area together at home and online.

Food for Others, located in Merrifield, is a hub that supplies food to more than 2,000 families every week. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, three times more families have relied on Food for Others to feed their households. This is why I have partnered with Food for Others and neighborhoods in our district to start local food drives. You can help.

Start organizing! You can take action by reaching out to your homeowners’ association or community organization to help set up a neighborhood food drive. Establish a drop off location and spread the word to your neighbors. Organize volunteers to pick up the canned goods and produce to deliver to Food for Others.

We can help! Contact our team at [email protected] and we can work with you to organize a safe and engaging food drive that fits your community.

Canned chili, canned chicken, canned fruit, rice, spaghetti sauce, cardboard boxes and fresh produce are some of the items most in demand. If you are fortunate to have a home vegetable or herb garden, plant an additional row and donate your fresh produce to Food for Others. Your neighbors in need will thank you!

The Providence District has made so much progress already. The Falls Hill and Miller Heights organizations have each collected 800 pounds of food, and many other communities in our district have donated hundreds of pounds of food.  I can’t wait to see how big this effort can grow.

Let’s join forces and fight this battle against hunger together. I am so proud of the work the Providence District has already done to help one another. There is more work to be done to bring food security to our neighbors in need. I thank you for your help.

Photo via Providence Supervisor Dalia Palchik/Facebook

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A list started by a woman to “help local businesses in McLean get the word out” quickly became a resource naming roughly 300 businesses and charities in the D.C. area.

The project, created by Lori Boerner, consists of a Google Doc and map, so people either seeking assistance or wanting to help during the pandemic can efficiently find an organization that suits their needs.

Perusing the information provided, people will see a places collecting donations, restaurants offering takeout and delivery, fitness centers offing online classes, retail stores with curbside drop off and even corporate companies that are offering free services.

Part of Boerner’s inspiration for the project came from chatter from local forums and social media. She noticed that people wanted to help those in need but lacked a direct, coordinated list of resources.

“It was initially time-consuming,” she said, adding formatting the information and researching places took a substantial amount of time.

Now that the list is somewhat complete, she told Tysons Reporter that she still spends a few early mornings a week before work to update it with tips sent to her.

For example, the mother of a McLean teenager that works at Sweet Bites Café & Bakery told Boerner to help get the word out that the bakery is still open since its business has slowed substantially.

“A lot of it feeds upon itself — once people see it, they send things in,” Boerner said, especially since the list’s popularity continues to grow.

Since its creation, the list has been promoted by regional organizations such as the McLean Citizens Association, which Boerner is a member of.

Boerner had practice coordinating a similar list after she made one to assist people during the government shutdown in 2019.

“Things are different now and people are helping in any way they can,” Boerner said, adding that not everyone may be able to donate financially, but they can promote resources through social media channels and networks.

Image via Google Maps

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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:

Vienna:

McLean:

Falls Church:

Image via Fairfax County

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Caboose Commons is ramping up its donation efforts to benefit Inova’s health care workers and low-income patients.

The Merrifield brewery has recently been collecting donations for the Falls Church-based Inova Health System, which serves the Northern Virginia and D.C. area.

Yesterday, Caboose announced on Facebook that donations will also benefit the Inova Cares Clinic for Women & Children.

“This donation will get struggling families the groceries they need!” the post said.

People can donate when they get to-go orders. Caboose Commons is currently offering a limited to-go menu that includes fries, burgers, grilled cheese and more, along with beer and grocery delivery. Its recently expanded delivery zone now stretches from Herndon to Bailey’s Crossroads.

Inova donation options include:

For $8 we will donate a meal to the INOVA staff. They are working tirelessly to keep us all safe and need as much support as they can get. Please give what you can.

Coordinated with InovaCares Clinics for Women and Children. Serving local low-income families that have lost their jobs, recently had a baby, or have children with special needs. Groceries include milk, eggs, produce, ground beef and a roll of toilet paper.

So far, Caboose said it has provided hundreds of meals to health care workers.

“We have donated over 480 meals to our frontline heroes at INOVA!” Caboose posted on Facebook on April 24. “They are beyond grateful for the support from the community. Thank you so much to those that have already donated.”

Image via Caboose Commons/Facebook

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A website created by a Vienna couple is looking to connect locals to Vienna restaurants offering gift cards to stay in business during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jane and Ray Brill, Jr. started SAVOR Vienna in mid-March when they noticed restaurants were “really taking it hard,” Ray Brill, Jr. told Tysons Reporter, adding that Vienna Inn was the first restaurant to sign on.

“We very action oriented,” Brill said.

In March, Gov. Ralph Northam ordered restaurants to stop table seating and switch to carry out, curbside pickup and delivery options. While many local eateries have managed to stay open with the new serving options, the restaurant industry is suffering due to the pandemic.

“You can do the carryout but it’s never the same,” he said.

While the effort has changed a bit, SAVOR Vienna now features information for 13 local eateries for people interested in buying gift cards, and Brill said he expects the list to grow. Patrons have to wait until July 1 to get their gift cards, which gives the eateries time to improve their finances.

To get the word out to restaurants, Brill said that he’s been having socially distanced conversations — staying 6 feet apart — with restaurants’ owners.

Restaurants interested in participating for free in SAVOR Vienna can contact the Brills via the website.

Brill said they paid out their pockets for the service to set up for the website and have bought about $700 in gift cards.

Brill also said that they are receiving “not a nickel, dime or penny” from the effort and that SAVOR Vienna has “nothing to with” the upcoming Vienna election — Ray Brill Jr. is a councilmember candidate.

While Brill said the idea can apply to other businesses like retailers, he’s waiting to see when the Vienna election will be held before deciding on whether or not to expand the effort.

“The process is very clean, very straightforward,” Brill said, adding that he hopes the opportunity for people to support local restaurants lifts everyone’s spirits up. “I’m just pleased we did it.”

Image via SAVOR Vienna

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As local eateries pivot to take-out and delivery only options, several are fundraising to help make up for declining revenue and to keep their staff paid.

Tysons Reporter has been scouring GoFundMe weekly for local eateries that are looking to raise money to stay open or pay unemployed staff.

Now, we’ve started a list of eateries in Tysons, Merrifield, Falls Church, McLean and Vienna that are seeking donations that we’ll update weekly.

The fundraisers we spotted recently include Falls Church-based Spacebar & Galaxy Hut. People can support the business paying its ongoing expenses and the fundraiser specifically for staff.

Bottleneck Management, which operates City Works Eatery and Pour House in Tysons, has started an “Employee Relief Fund” to raise $100,000.

In Vienna, Pazzo Pomodoro in Vienna wants to raise $20,000 to support the  servers, hostesses, kitchen staff and bartenders.

Don’t see a restaurant’s fundraiser on the list? Email the link to [email protected] so we can add it.

Photo courtesy David Endres

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The owner of two local Popeyes locations recently donated meals to help combat food insecurity.

During digital learning supply pickup at Timber Lane Elementary School earlier this week, students who came with their families to grab a laptop and other supplies were also handed a meal courtesy of Nader Saleh, who owns both the Merrifield and Fairfax Popeyes locations.

Across Fairfax County, many students and families rely on school lunches. While Fairfax County Public Schools is offering free meals to students during the closure, Saleh said that their are kids who might fall through the cracks.

“There are a lot of kids and families who are depending on the school lunches and then when the schools close, they have been left out,” Saleh said, adding that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help those in his community.

Benjamin Chiet, the principal of Timber Lane Elementary School, gave a shoutout on Twitter to Popeyes, thanking them for the donation.

Timber Lane Elementary School is just one of the many local schools to receive meal donations, according to Saleh.

“We would like to build the bridge between our restaurant and the community,” he said, adding that he is happy to combat food insecurity however he can.

Nationally, Popeyes is part of the No Kid Hungary Campaign, which helps families supply healthy meal options year-round, according to the website.

Though Popeyes (2835 Gallows Road) in Merrifield is still open for takeout and delivery, Saleh said business has been slower than usual. Anyone interested in supporting the restaurant can order online.

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In response to everything happening with the COVID-19 pandemic, several local groups decided to raise money to feed medical workers at local facilities.

Though Hearts of Empowerment, the P.U.S.O. Foundation and Mighty Meals all typically serve different purposes in the community, they began a joint GoFundMe campaign to feed health care workers throughout the Tysons area, according to a press release.

Since the campaign’s kick-off on March 24, the organizers have raised $4,250 and counting. So far, more than 85 people have donated to the cause.

Hearts of Empowerment is a non-profit organization that wants to ensure that no charity is forced to close its doors due to a lack of funding, its website said, adding that it will donate $750 of the company’s own funds in addition to what is raised on the GoFundMe page.

The P.U.S.O. Foundation, which stands for Purposeful Unconditional Service to Others, works to empower people in underserved areas of the world, according to its website. The foundation will donate an extra $1,000, on top of what is crowdsourced, according to the GoFundMe campaign.

Mighty Meals — the group that will cater the food — was founded on a platform that everyone should have access to healthy and fulfilling meals, its website said. Mighty Meals will match the total donation amount by 25%, according to the GoFundMe.

“To date, we have delivered over 200 meals and our efforts will continue on a weekly basis as we have made it our goal to feed the staff of a new hospital every week,” a spokesperson for Hearts of Empowerment said.

On top of the funding for meals, Trophy Body Personal Training will be sponsoring free social distancing outdoor workouts for doctors and nurses, according to the GoFundMe.

Photos courtesy Hearts of Empowerment

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