Tysons, VA

For the first time in its 48-year history, Second Story is going online for its most important fundraiser.

Scheduled for Oct. 27, the 2020 Beacon of Hope Fundraiser will give supporters a look at how the Tysons-based nonprofit has adapted to the uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, whose impact has been felt most acutely by poor and marginalized communities like the youths and families that Second Story serves.

Taking the form of a video streamed live on YouTube from 12:30-1:00 p.m., the fundraiser will feature updates from Second Story CEO Judith Dittman on the organization’s current status and its plans for the future. Three youths will also talk about their involvement in the nonprofit’s programs, which provide housing, counseling, and other kinds of assistance to young people and families in need.

The planned virtual fundraiser will be a major change from Second Story’s traditional Beacon of Hope benefit, which is held in October every year and typically serves as the nonprofit’s largest fundraising event.

“This is such a new territory for us, but everyone’s been really working hard in making sure that people will understand what the needs are of the under-served population that we work with,” Second Story vice president of development Jade Leedham said.

The annual Beacon of Hope fundraiser is especially critical for Second Story this year, as the nonprofit attempts to fill more gaps in essential needs for its clients during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

While Second Story also serves Washington, D.C., and Maryland, it is primarily based in Northern Virginia with programs to support teenagers in crisis, and young adults and mothers experiencing homelessness. The nonprofit also has drop-in centers in the Culmore area of Falls Church, Annandale, and Springfield that provide after-school support to students.

Leedham says Second Story has seen a “huge” increase in the need for food. Distribution events held twice a week in Culmore have consistently drawn about 300 people per day, while a site in Springfield regularly gets 100 people coming each day.

Second Story has also been dropping off food for clients who are unable to attend the distribution events.

Other pressing issues include access to technology, as students risked being left out of schools’ shift to virtual learning, and rent support after about 70 percent of the youths in Second Story’s rapid re-housing program lost hours at their jobs or got laid off in the past year.

At the same time, Second Story has seen the number of people using its residential programs dip.

“[It’s] the nature of COVID,” Leedham said. “People are reluctant to leave or to go anywhere that’s not familiar to them or that they don’t know is safe or not.” Read More

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Friday Morning Notes

Halmar International Moving from Tysons to Baltimore — “Several of the current employees from Tysons Corner are expected to move into the positions in Baltimore.” [Baltimore Business Journal]

Fairfax Firefighters Host Virtual “Fill the Boot” — “Join #Providence @SupvPalchik in supporting the virtual #FairfaxCounty #FillTheBoot benefiting @MDAorg by donating here” [Twitter]

W&OD Trail Section in Falls Church Closed — “As of today, the section of trail from Little Falls St to Great Falls St is closed for work related to the dual trails project.” [Twitter]

Local Suicide Prevention Program Launched Fall Fundraiser Tonight — “Spring into fall with PRS by virtually joining us for our rescheduled annual signature benefit, Springtopia – A Season of Hope” [PRSinc.org]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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This October, beer fans and animal lovers can head over to Lost Dog Cafe to sip Solace Brewing Company’s Rescue Ale and support rescue efforts for dogs and cats.

The charity brew, which benefits the Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation, will hit shelves at Solace Brewery on Oct. 8 and will start being poured at all Lost Dog Cafe locations on Oct. 9. A portion of all sales of Rescue Ale will be donated to LDCRF.

There are five Lost Dog Cafe locations, with one in Dunn Loring (2729A Merrilee Drive) and one in McLean (1690A Anderson Road).

The brewery will host a distanced adoption event, and an online auction will offer winners a tour of the brewery as well as  pooch and beer-themed merchandise.

Lost Dog Cafe is a long-time supporter of the rescue and donates a portion of its revenue to support the care of animals rescued by LDCRF. Local breweries have brewed a Rescue Ale in support of LDCRF for the last four years, and this is Solace’s second year making the charity beer. Read More

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Monday Morning Notes

Tysons-based Credit Union Raises $585,000 for Military Veterans — “The PenFed Foundation joined over 75 community and business leaders to raise over $585,000 to support veterans and the military community at the 17th annual Military Heroes Golf Classic on Monday, September 21st.” [PenFed]

How Substantial Park Requirements May Challenge Walkability Goals in Tysons — “Parks can create what urban theorist Jane Jacobs called “border vacuums.” Border vacuums are long stretches of monotonous space separating potential destinations.” [Greater Greater Washington]

Behind the Scenes of Library Book Selection — “Have you ever imagined what goes into the library’s decision to buy a book? Collection Services is the department at Fairfax County Public Library that selects and orders library materials.” [Fairfax County]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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In lieu of rolling down the window to put some cash in a firefighter’s boot, those looking to help out their local Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Auxiliary can get dinner at Chipotle on Maple Avenue today..

A portion of the proceeds from orders placed at the Chipotle at 213 Maple Avenue E. in Vienna today (Tuesday) between 5-9 p.m. will go to the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department. If the event page is brought up on a smartphone or the cashier is told you’re there to support the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, 33% of the proceeds will be donated to the organization.

For those reticent to buy from the restaurant in-person, orders placed on Chipotle.com or through the Chipotle app for pickup can use the promo code FV32C9F.

Another fundraiser-for-dinner option is the Chick-Fil-A, which is having a mobile order fundraiser where those ordering from the Vienna location can have a portion of their order go to Flint Hill Elementary School if they mention it in the order.

Photo via Vienna Volunteer Fire Department Auxillary/Facebook

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&pizza Co-Founder Buys McLean Mansion — “Washington Wizards superstar Bradley Beal has sold his French Provincial-style McLean mansion to entrepreneur Steve Salis, the co-founder of &pizza, for $3.5 million.” [Washington Business Journal]

Virtual Fundraiser — “The McLean area branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) is hosting an online fund-raiser to take the place of its 51st annual book sale, which was slated for September but has been canceled due to the public-health pandemic.” [Inside NoVa]

Former Lt. Gov. Dies — “John H. Hager, a moderate Republican who persevered over polio to serve as Virginia’s lieutenant governor and hold other key state and national posts, died Sunday. He was 83.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Inc. 5000 List — “The number of Greater Washington companies at the top of the Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies fell precipitously in 2020, reversing a trend of growth from the previous few years’ lists… Vienna logistics firm Urgent.ly, which last year was Greater Washington’s highest-ranked firm at No. 12 on the list, dropped more than 200 spots to No. 221 in 2020.” [Washington Businss Journal]

Photo by Michelle Goldchain

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Hairstylist Daniel Bechara is looking to raise money ahead of his plans to help repair damaged homes in Lebanon, where he was born and raised.

Bechara, who owns Salon Daniel (6828A Old Dominion Drive) in McLean, started a GoFundMe to raise $50,000. So far, the fundraiser has netted more than $7,000 in six days.

Bechara’s fundraiser joins a growing list of local businesses in the Tysons area that are supporting relief efforts following a massive explosion in Beirut, Lebanon’s capital, on Aug. 4.

“August 4, 2020 was a day that shattered my heart, the hearts of my fellow Lebanese people, and the rest of the world,” Bechara wrote on the fundraiser’s page. “Lebanon has experienced dark times, but nothing as devastating as the effects of COVID-19 followed by the massive explosion.”

Bechara shared that he moved to the D.C. area in 1985 and has been providing support to his family and parents in Lebanon, as the country grapples with economic turmoil.

Bechara said he plans to head back to Lebanon in early September to repair homes with the support of the mayor of Dekwaneh, a suburb near Beirut.

“$500 can put a house back into working condition (ie- repair broken glass and provide basic necessities like a microwave, pots, pans),” Bechara wrote, adding that he pledges to make contributions from his own wallet to rebuild four homes.

Photo via Salon Daniel/Facebook

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LB Food market and Wooden Bakery in Vienna kicked off a fundraising effort to help support relief efforts in Beirut after a massive explosion.

Lebanon was already struggling with hyperinflation and economic turmoil before the explosion killed more than 170 people and injured thousands in the country’s capital city last Tuesday.

Rami El-Hasrouni, the owner of Wooden Bakery, told Tysons Reporter that he helped start the GoFundMe to raise $10,000 for two organizations helping people in Beirut: the Lebanese Red Cross and Beit El Baraka. So far, the fundraiser has received $170.

“Everybody is asking, ‘How can we help?'” El-Hasrouni said.

The market, which now sells Mediterranean food in the former spot of Bey Lounge, and the Lebanese bakery are both operated by D.C.-based Woodfire Brands.

In addition to the fundraiser, the bakery and market are looking for clothing and medical supply donations and will donate 30% of the pita bread and pita chips sales through next week.

Our Lady of Lebanon Church in D.C. is filling up cargo containers with clothes, food and medical supplies to send to Lebanon, El-Hasrouni said, adding that clothes, bandages and medicine are especially needed. El-Hasrouni said that if people bring donations to the bakery, he will make sure they get the items to the church.

Several Lebanese restaurants in the Tysons area, including Lebanese Taverna and Zenola, are raising money to help Beirut.

“Restaurants are barely breaking even but we’re trying to do something,” El-Hasrouni said. “It’s amazing how people are coming together.”

Photo via LB Food Market/Facebook

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Local restaurants want diners to donate to the relief efforts helping the thousands of people suffering from the aftermath of a deadly explosion in Beirut.

The massive explosion in Lebanon’s capital last Tuesday (Aug. 4) killed approximately 150 people and left thousands injured and homeless.

Mediterranean restaurant Zenola took to Facebook on Wednesday to ask diners to donate to the Lebanese Red Cross and Impact Lebanon. “The city and its people are near and dear to our hearts,” the Facebook post said. “We’re heartbroken over the loss of life and the destruction of vital infrastructure. The road ahead to recovery and rebuilding will be a long one.”

“Being Lebanese-American, most of us in the [D.C. area], we felt like we had to do something,” Noha Zeitoun, who is one of the restaurant’s owners, told Tysons Reporter. “Being so far away, one of the easiest things we can do is fundraise for the organizations doing the work on the ground.”

The restaurant, which opened last September in Vienna, is donating the proceeds from two menu items — a cocktail and comfort dish — through this Wednesday (Aug. 12) to the two organizations, Zeitoun said. “The Lebanese Red Cross is incredibly well respected and well regarded with giving money directly to the people,” Zeitoun said. “Impact Lebanon — they are known for highly vetting the organizations they give money to.”

The cocktail is called “Toot Toot to Beirut” — a play on words of a song by the Lebanese artist Marcel Khalife — and is made from blackberry juice and gin. The comfort dish “Ablama” is baby zucchini stuffed with beef, pine nuts and onions with tomato and truffle béchamel sauce. The dish comes with rice and vermicelli.

“We grew up eating it at home and in Lebanon,” Zeitoun said about Ablama. “It’s a warm dish that brings you fuzzies.”

Zenola joined D.C.-area restaurants taking part in a fundraising effort called Beitna, which means “our house” in Arabic and was started by Chef Roro Asmar and Chef Marcelle Afram of Compass Rose and Maydan, Zeitoun said. Additionally, the restaurant is encouraging diners this month to make donations when they get their checks.

Zeitoun said that Zenola has raised about $300 since last Wednesday and hopes to double the amount by next Wednesday (Aug. 19).

“There are some really, really hard videos to watch, given everything worldwide with the pandemic,” Zeitoun said about the explosion, noting a recent map shows what the impact would have looked like in the D.C. area. “It’s another extra thing making 2020 just a little bit more unbearable.”

“It will take a lot of time, but Beirut has recovered through a lot of things, and the people are very resilient,” Zeitoun said, noting that the country is facing hyperinflation and economic turmoil.

Because of inflation, Zeitoun said that every dollar counts: “USD goes a really long way right now.”

Other restaurants in the Tysons area are also looking to support Beirut.

Phoenicia Resto and Lounge in the Dunn Loring area took to Facebook to share relief efforts people can donate to.

“[No] words can heal the wounded or bring back the souls killed by this horrific tragedy… Beirut always in our heart,” the restaurant posted.

Lebanese Taverna, a regional chain that was started in Arlington and has a location in Tysons Galleria, started a GoFundMe for the Lebanese Red Cross. The fundraiser netted more than $62,000 in five days — surpassing the initial goal of $50,000.

“We are now shifting any additional donations to Jose Andres’ organization, World Central Kitchen as our brother, Dany Abi-Najm is traveling to Lebanon with #CHEFSFORBEIRUT,” the restaurant posted on Facebook yesterday. “Any further money collected will go directly to assist their efforts on the front line as they help to feed the more than 300,000 people displayed.”

Additionally, the restaurant’s website says that a portion of the proceeds from the Hommos sold through the end of the month will benefit World Central Kitchen, which is giving prepared meals to seniors, first responders and people in need in Beirut.

Photo via Zenola/Facebook

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A group of eight kids came together this summer to spread love in the Vienna community via wooden signs with painted hearts. 

The group, which calls itself Rustic Love Vienna, created and sold the signs to benefit the Vienna VA Foodies Facebook group, which supports local restaurants, frontline workers and food-insecure families.

The idea came together after seeing Signs of Hope Delaware, a family business selling signs for profit after losing their jobs. Michelle Davila, the adult organizer of the group, decided to try and recreate the signature heart sign with wood in her own basement. She then involved her children, and Rustic Love Vienna took off.

“It’s just been really, really, really positive,” Davila told Tysons Reporter.

They wrapped up their orders on Friday, July 31, with a total of $6,220 raised, according to Davila. The children produced about 250 signs for the community, which can be spotted in yards when driving around Vienna. 

“Driving around town and seeing them, I don’t know where they all go,” said Davila. She said seeing the signs when out and about reinforces the experience’s positivity and productivity.

While Davila was the adult in the group, her son and two neighbors were the people running the project. Kids would rotate between sawing, drilling and painting to make the signs.

Not only did kids from the neighborhood join the group, but also kids whose parents heard about the initiative and had an interest in joining. A neighbor even provided wood leftover from a previous project, according to Davila. 

“It’s been super, super rewarding,” said Davila. “The amount of money we’ve raised for this group… has been a great thing for my kids to be able to experience.” 

Photo courtesy of Michelle Davila

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