Tysons, VA

A 9-year-old in Vienna wants to help local businesses struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic after they previously supported his fundraising efforts for young cancer patients.

Matteo Lambert began his philanthropic journey after working with the founder of Hopecam, which allows severely ill cancer patients to connect digitally with friends and fight social isolation.

After starting a fundraiser, Matteo and his father Brandon Lambert said eight key businesses in Vienna donated around $250 each for the cause.

Bu now that the COVID19 pandemic has taken a toll on small businesses, Matteo wants to support them during their time of need.

Matteo set up a GoFundMe on March 17 to pay back the businesses for their original donations. So far, the campaign has raised over $1,420 out of the $2,020 goal.

The businesses that will benefit from the fundraiser include:

Brandon said his son had no fundraising experience before he began helping Hopecam and has learned a lot from the experience.

Now, Matteo communicates with donors almost exclusively on his own without too much extra help from adults.

Besides the GoFundMe campaign, Matteo and his father have their own non-profit called Off the Charts Club and have been featured on several other news outlets and podcasts.

Off the Charts Club empowers youth leadership and helps kids to lead their best lives despite any diagnosis or disability, according to its website.

Because of the pandemic, which has taken an economic toll on local businesses and families, Matteo’s dad said the organization has put its fundraising on pause for the time being because they didn’t feel it was right to ask for money in such a challenging time.

Even if someone cannot help their community by donating money, Matteo suggested that people help by donating extra items to local homeless shelters or plant gardens.

“There are no age or size requirements on helping your community,” Matteo said.

Photos via GoFundMe

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Editor’s note: Starting March 24, Tysons Reporter will have “Morning Notes” every weekday instead of twice a week to accommodate more news.

Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

Virginia ABC Reducing Store Hours Friday — “The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority announced Tuesday that all of its 388 stores will be open only from noon to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Stores in the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson and Williamsburg, and the counties of James City and York had already been operating on the reduced schedule.” [Inside NoVa]

Fundraiser for Supplies to Sew Masks — A group of local sewing volunteers is looking for monetary donations. “We are guided by hospital directions, and friends and family in the healthcare industry, and we have organized sewing volunteers in the Falls Church, Virginia area.” [GoFundMe]

Fairfax County Gets an “A” For Social Distancing — “On Tuesday, a company called Unacast that collects and analyzes phone GPS location data launched a “Social Distancing Scoreboard” that grades, county by county, which residents are changing behavior at the urging of health officials.” Fairfax County gets an “A,” according to the data. [Washington Post]

Lights Out? — “On the electricity generation side, power plants are still humming and Dominion says procedures are in place to ensure employee safety and continuity.” [ARLnow]

Falls Church Burglary Under Investigation — “Fairfax police are investigating a burglary reported early Monday at the Millennium Care Pharmacy in Falls Church. The incident follows 10 reported break-ins at pharmacies and medical offices between Fairfax and Prince William counties this month.” [Inside NoVa]

Polling Station Moves in Vienna — “The Board also approved a permanent relocation of the polling place for the Nottoway Precinct. This polling place will move from the Hunter House at Nottoway Park, 9601 Courthouse Road, Vienna, to the Marshall Road Elementary School, 730 Marshall Road Southwest, Vienna. The school provides a more accessible and convenient facility for the more than 3,800 registered voters in this precinct.” [Fairfax County]

Metro Closure Prompts Fairfax Connector Changes — “Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) announces that due to the temporary closure of the Mclean and Van Dorn Metrorail Stations beginning Thursday, March 26, 2020, Fairfax Connector bus routes that serve those stations will be re-routed to serve open Metrorail stations.” [Fairfax County]

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Editor’s note: Are you a restaurant in the Vienna, Falls Church, Tysons, Merrifield and McLean areas that has a fundraiser? Email us at [email protected] and we will update the list.

Fundraisers are popping up to help employees at the many restaurants around the Tysons area that are struggling with safety concerns around the COVID-19 outbreak.

Some local restaurants have pivoted to take-out or delivery only options to stay open, while others have shuttered their doors temporarily — or sometimes permanently.

Tysons Reporter browsed GoFundMe to find fundraisers connected to local restaurants. Here’s what we found.

Thompson Italian (124 N. Washington Street), a restaurant in Falls Church, decided to close temporarily on March 16 due to the pandemic. Now, a Staff Relief Fund is looking to raise $50,000 for the staff, who have been laid off.

“We are seeking ways to support our staff who are now suddenly out of work,” according to the fundraiser. “100% of proceeds from this fund, and from current gift card sales, will go directly to our staff to help with necessities.”

The fundraiser notes that it is focusing on staffers who “are more vulnerable during this crisis” — it won’t go to the owners  or to business-related costs — and “will use donations to meet critical necessities (e.g. food, medication, paper products, and toiletries).”

A fundraiser for another Falls Church eatery — Clare and Don’s Beach Shack (130 N. Washington Street) — is looking to raise $30,000 to help the staff, who have been laid off.

“[The owners’] decision to close last Sunday was an effort to protect staff and customers from COVID-19, realizing that the most impacted would be staff,” according to the fundraiser.

Stefanie Fornaris, the lead bartender at Great American Restaurants, started a GoFundMe three days ago for the laid-off bartenders who used to work at Patsy’s American — one of three eateries from GAR in Tysons.

“We never in a million years would have ever imagined a day when we would have to say that any of us were laid off in the industry that has proven time and again to be so reliable to us for so many years,” according to the GoFundMe.

Patsy’s (8051 Leesburg Pike) is currently open for curbside pick-up and delivery, according to its website.

Nearby, The Palm (1750 Tysons Blvd) has a virtual tip jar set up for its employees. The restaurant, which is known for its caricatures of famous people covering its walls, is offering take-out.

Tysons Reporter previously reported on the owners of Bear Branch Tavern’s GoFundMe for its employees while the newly opened Vienna restaurant is temporarily closed.

First photo via Clare and Don’s Beach Shack/Facebook; second photo via GoFundMe

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People who stop by Ledo Pizza in Tysons Station next week can help raise money for Freedom Hill Elementary School.

The upcoming fundraiser is a part of the parent-teacher association’s plans to raise at least $10,000 in donations this year.

A member of the school’s PTA told Tysons Reporter that the “family dinner out” at Ledo Pizza will be next Tuesday-Wednesday (March 10-11) at 7510 Leesburg Pike. The restaurant will donate part of the money from the two nights to the PTA.

The school’s PTA is also hosting a read-a-thon through tomorrow (March 6) to encourage students to read. The PTA is seeking donations.

More from the event page:

This year, Read-a-thon’s proceeds will go towards classroom libraries, school reading materials, and to help replace aging projectors.

This year we hope to beat last year’s reading totals (202,000 minutes read), and exceed our fundraising goal of $10,000. If we reach our fundraising goal, Asst. Principal Kopacz will get a pie in the face and Principal Zapadka will be duct-taped to the wall!!

Image via Google Maps

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Here are the latest stories about the Tysons area that the Tysons Reporter team has been reading:

Fundraiser For Timber Lane PTA — “The Community Charity Champions philanthropic arm of HBC Group of Keller Williams Realty will host a fund-raiser for the Timber Lane Elementary School PTA on Tuesday, March 10.” [Inside NoVa]

No July Fourth Falls Church Fireworks — “The City of Falls Church announced [Monday] that its 40-year tradition of an Independence Day fireworks show will be suspended this year due to the construction on the new George Mason High School currently taking place. The City says it plans for the fireworks to return in 2021.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Fire Guts McLean Home, Closes Route 123 — Last night shortly before 7 p.m., a three-alarm fire in a McLean home prompted Route 123 to close. [Tysons Reporter]

Students Getting Glass Recycled — “Two enterprising George Mason High School students, junior Jonathan Oppenheimer and freshman Danny Oppenheimer, have started a glass recycling service for City of Falls Church residents in response to the City’s announcement that it would no longer collect glass in its weekly recycling pick-up service.” [Falls Church News-Press]

Today, voting is underway for the Democratic primary today:

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Marshall High School’s parent-teacher-student association (PTSA) wants people to Zumba at Tysons Corner Center next Saturday to raise money for a graduation celebration.

Set for Saturday (Feb. 29), the dance party will feature Rochi Bracale and other Zumba fitness instructors, according to the event page.

“Workout attire is ideal but not required,” the event page says. “As long as you can dance, move, twirl, jump and sway in your street clothes, you will be good!”

The family-friendly event is scheduled to take place at the Fashion Court near Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s in the mall on the lower level from 3-4:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.

The money will go to the All Night Graduation Celebration (ANGC), which is a drug- and alcohol-free party for graduates hosted by the Marshall High School PTSA, according to the event page.

People who can’t make the party can still donate until March 9 to the graduation celebration.

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Relay-Palooza Battle of the Bands” is coming back in Vienna this upcoming weekend.

Hosted by Relay For Life of Northern Virginia, the annual event raises money for the American Cancer Society. At the event, participants will vote for their favorite band and the winner will be able to headline the 2020 Relay For Life event in May.

A full dinner and drink menu will be available, according to the event page.

Vienna-based Java Sparrow posted on Facebook that the band plans to perform at the event.

“Relay-Palooza” is set to take place at 1 p.m. — doors open at noon — at Jammin Java (227 Maple Avenue E.) on Sunday (Feb. 23). General admission tickets are $15, while “premier plus” tickets are $25.

“The Premier Plus section is a raised area with great views and reserved seats and tables,” according to the event page. “There is a dedicated server for faster service.”

Image courtesy Relay for Life of Northern Virginia

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The Weekly Planner is a roundup of interesting events coming up over the next week in the Tysons area.

We’ve scoured the web for events of note in Tysons, Vienna, Merrifield, McLean and Falls Church. Know of any we’ve missed? Tell us!

Wednesday (Feb. 5)

  • Tanya Tucker — 7:30 p.m. at The Barns at Wolf Trap (1635 Trap Road) — Tanya Tucker is known for her country style, according to Vist Fairfax, and has been nominated for several Grammy Awards. Guests can enjoy her music for an evening at this upcoming live performance. Tickets start at $47.

Thursday (Feb. 6)

  • Meditation Class — 8:30-9:30 a.m. at EKOE Health (254 N. Washington Street) — Women are invited to take part in a meditation session that will help them unwind and work on their breath. Comfortable clothes are encouraged.  Admission is $25 and all experience levels are welcome.

Saturday (Feb. 8)

  • Kojam Productions’ Tysons Camp Fair — 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fashion Court in Tysons Corner Center (1961 Chain Bridge Road) — This event invites people to check out options for extracurricular summer activities.  Representatives from multiple groups will be on-site to answer questions and the event page states it is the area’s biggest camp-related event. Admission is free and open to all.
  • Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana — 7 p.m. at The Alden, McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue) — This one-time performance from the New York-based troop allows people to experience the newest production by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. General Admission tickets are $40, but discounts are available.

Sunday (Feb. 9)

  • Women’s Club Fundraiser — 3-5 p.m. at Chain Bridge Cellars (1351 Chain Bridge Road) — Attendees over the age of 21 will have the chance to sample a variety of wines while benefiting the Dominion Women’s Club. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online.
  • NOVA Central Farm Markets — 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at George C. Marshall High School (7731 Leesburg Pike) — This farmers market invites people to stock up with fresh goods such as bread, produce and possibly meats. It is one of the few farmers markets available in the area year-round.
  • Cookie Decorating — 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Botanologica (817 W. Broad Street) — Attendees can learn how to work with wet icing in this interactive workshop. People will walk away with six cookies and all materials will be supplied by the hosts. Tickets are $85. No experience is needed for this three-hour class.

Photo courtesy McLean Community Center

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For the ninth year in a row, people can taste chocolate from local chocolatiers at an annual festival in McLean.

The McLean Chocolate Festival is a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of McLean — proceeds go to local organizations.

Last year, the festival raised more than $21,000 people and had more than 3,100 attendees, according to the website.

The festival is set to take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the McLean Community Center (1234 Ingleside Avenue).

Attendees can expect a children’s game room and live entertainment. Admission is $2, but kids ages 3 and under can attend for free.

Photo via Burke & Herbert Bank/Facebook

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In a few weeks, people can cannonball into an icy poll for a fundraiser in Merrifield.

The Polar Plunge Festival returns to the Mosaic District to raise money for Special Olympics Virginia to provide year-round sports training, competition, leadership opportunities and health services to athletes, according to the event’s website.

It costs $100 to take the plunge. So far, the upcoming event has raised just over $7,000, with a goal of $45,000.

A contest will award the “best-dressed plunger,” according to the Mosaic District website.

The event is set to take place on Saturday (Jan. 25) from 1-4 p.m.

Photo via Plunge Virginia/Facebook

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