The pandemic is over, right? Not for Volunteer Alexandria.
“We are actually seen a decrease in new people registering…only 114 people, which is really low for us,” Volunteer Alexandria’s Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow. “We are still in need of people who are able to donate time to assist with food and meal distributions – ALIVE!, ACPS, and CASA Chirilagua all need people to assist.”
Brunken said there were 224 registered volunteers in April and 187 in March, and that she is now looking at a 30% shortage in school meal distribution volunteers.
“We need hundreds of people per week,” Brunken said. “Because, tutoring, mentoring — those are so important. Seniors always need food delivered, no matter if the pandemic is over or not. More people are in need now than ever. We still deliver food. We still have after school programs, and now we’re going to the summer camps, so we need to staff those as well.”
As part of the expansion of Catholic Charities USA’s (CCUSA) expansion into Carlyle, the non-profit is requesting permission to build a cafe and conference center on the ground floor of its 2050 Ballenger Avenue headquarters.
The expansion is part of an application headed to the Planning Commission on Tuesday, June 1. The space is owned by CCUSA and until recently was leased to a restaurant, but the non-profit said in its application that the restaurant closed in January.
“CCUSA proposes to repurpose the space formerly occupied by the restaurant and establish a conference center and cafe in its place,” CCUSA said. “The conference center will be occupied and managed by CCUSA, and will be utilized to host a variety of meetings and events including Board and membership meetings, trainings, and conferences.”
CCUSA said it will also rent out the conference center to third parties on a rental basis, which could help meet the heavy demand for conference space in the area.
“Over the years, CCUSA has received numerous inquiries regarding the availability of conference center space in its building,” the non-profit said. “Organizations that have expressed interest include other nonprofit organizations, community groups in Carlyle, and the Westin Hotel in instances where there has been overflow demand from its existing conference facility. The proposed ground floor conference center will help meet this demand.”
The cafe will offer sandwiches, desserts and beverages and operate as a workforce training program.
“The program will provide workforce training in the food and beverage and hospitality industries to underserved and vulnerable populations, such as the unemployed,” CCUSA said. “The space is well-suited for this use, given the existing kitchen facilities left in place by the former restaurant tenant.”
CCUSA said the commercial kitchen space could be used as an incubator for start-up food and beverage businesses for people from underprivileged communities.
Photo via Google Maps
ALIVE! free food giveaway this Saturday — “On Sat, Apr 10, 8:30-10:30am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elem School parking lot and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (map at alive-inc.org, if college closes due to weather, distribution cancelled).” [Twitter]
Sexual assault survivors making community quilt — “(T)he Sexual Assault Center is hosting the second of two art events to decorate denim squares for a community quilt to support survivors of sexual assault: April 6, 4-7 pm. The events will comply with state COVID-19 guidelines.” [Twitter]
Presto Valet turns 70 — “Alexandria institution at 1623 N. Quaker Lane, Presto Valet has been the primary dry cleaner for many local notables such as former Presidents Gerald Ford and Bill Clinton, and former Vice President Al Gore, and for cultural establishments such as The Kennedy Center, The Washington Opera, and Ford’s Theatre.” [Zebra]
Today’s weather — “Sunshine and clouds mixed. High around 75F. Winds N at 5 to 10 mph… A few clouds from time to time. Slight chance of a rain shower. Low 53F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New job: Bartender at the Belle Haven Country Club — “The Bartender works a flexible schedule and embodies the service culture at Belle Haven. Bartenders understand the member service is every employee’s most basic job description.” [Indeed]
City Applies for Grant to Reimagine King Street — “The project runs from the six-way King Street-Braddock-Road-Quaker Lane intersection west past the Bradlee Shopping Center to Menonkin Drive, which is just before the I-395 interchange on King Street — about a 0.5 mile stretch of heavily-used roadway. The City Council granted permission for city staff to apply for the grant in March 2020, along with approval to apply for grants for the Duke Street Transitway and Landmark Transit Center. The King Street project would be funded in the 2026-27 fiscal year.” [Alexandria Living]
Pandemic Forces ‘Mom Made Foods’ to Close — “Mom Made Foods, an Alexandria-based company providing children’s frozen meals and snacks in stores and online, announced its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” [Patch]
ALIVE! Free Food Distribution is This Saturday — “On Sat, Mar 13, 8:30-10:30am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elem School parking lot and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (map at alive-inc.org, if college closes due to weather, distribution cancelled).” [Twitter]
Police Chief Giving Community Update on Thursday — “COMMUNITY MEETING:: Chief Michael Brown heads to Del Ray on Thursday, March 11 to answer questions and listen to concerns from the community. We hope you can join us.” [Twitter]
Transportation and Environmental Services Chief Speaking at Regional Meeting — “You don’t want to miss our upcoming Roundtable’s ‘Smart Future’ panel, featuring Jennifer DeBruhl, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation; Chris Henry, Virginia Railway Express; Dennis Leach, Arlington County Department of Environmental Services; and Yon Lambert, Transportation & Environmental Services, City of Alexandria, Virginia. It is sure to be a lively discussion on the future of transportation around the Commonwealth! Jordan Pascale, WAMU 88.5 – American University Radio transportation reporter, to moderate. Tune in Wednesday, March 10th.” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “Except for a few afternoon clouds, mainly sunny (during the day). High near 70F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph… Mostly cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy after midnight. Low 41F. Winds light and variable.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Weekend Photographer — “Memory Makers is seeking entry level photographers to take pictures of the youth sports leagues that we service. Individuals interested in this position must be friendly, self-motivated, and dependable. This job is PERFECT for photographers that are looking to expand their professional experience.” [Indeed]
Beyer Says Trump Defense Weak During Senate Impeachment Hearing — “The House Managers established that Trump lied about the election, inspired the attackers to come to DC, directed them to the Capitol, and did nothing for hours to stop their violent attack. Senate Republicans objected, strenuously, to details of a phone call. And nothing else.” [Twitter]
CVS Starts Offering COVID-19 Vaccines in Alexandria and Fairfax County — “People interested in a vaccine are allowed to register through both the city or county health departments and through CVS at the same time, but local health department officials are pleading with people who get their vaccine through CVS to remove themselves from the health department waiting lists so others can get vaccinated faster.” [Alexandria Living]
ALIVE! Free Food Distribution Canceled — “The ALIVE! Trunk to Trunk Food Distribution scheduled for February 13 has been CANCELED due to forecasted weather conditions and the safety of residents, staff and volunteers. Instead, the distribution events will take place on February 20 at the same locations and times.” [Twitter]
Stracci Pizza Truck Brings Roman-Style Pizza to Del Ray — “Thomas Cardarelli, chef and owner of Stracci Pizza, (pronounced stráh-chee) always wanted to start something of his own — a high-tech, casual pizzeria. Then, the pandemic hit. His friend asked: ‘Why not get a food truck?'” [Alexandria Living]
Travel + Leisure Profiles Manumission Tour Company — “Explore different stories in Alexandria Virginia’s history of slaves who ran away to freedom using the underground railroad. Join us as we walk around Alexandria Virginia with John Chapman from Manumission Tours and explore some of these historical moments.” [Youtube]
Casa Chirilagua Revamps Food Pantry — “Casa Chirilagua brings access to non-perishable food items and cleaning products to the community through our pantry. With new shelving and reorganization, we can now hold hundreds of pounds of food and cleaning products. So far we’ve distributed 2,241 grocery bags of pantry items, valued at over $196,000. This could not be possible without your support!” [Facebook]
Today’s Weather — “Cloudy with a mixture of rain and snow in the morning. Temps nearly steady in the mid to upper 30s. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precip 70%… Cloudy (in the evening). Low 26F. Winds NNE at 5 to 10 mph.” [Weather.com]
New Job: Real Estate Photographer — “Shoot anywhere from 2 to 4 properties per day.Deliver consistently excellent images up to company standards.Upload raw images to development services. Additional opportunities and pay are available for shooting night photography and weekends.” [Indeed]
Winter Weather Advisory in Effect for Alexandria — “A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect through 9 am Tuesday with expectations of mixed precipitation and possible accumulations of 1-2 inches of snow and ice. Expect slippery roads. Be prepared, slow down, and use caution while traveling.” [Twitter]
More Contagious Coronavirus Variant Found in Northern Virginia — “The Virginia Department of Health said in a news release Monday that the B.1.1.7 variant was confirmed in a Northern Virginia adult resident who reported no recent travel. As of Jan. 22, VDH said almost 200 cases of the variant have been found in the U.S. in 23 states.” [Patch]
Beyer Calls Incoming Treasury Secretary ‘Crisis-Tested Trailblazer’ — “Warmest congratulations to @JanetYellen, the first woman to hold the office of Secretary of the Treasury, on her bipartisan confirmation. Secretary Yellen is the kind of experienced, crisis-tested leader the country needs overcome this historic economic crisis.” [Twitter]
Levine Bill Banning Guns in Polling Places Passes House of Delegates — “My Safe Elections Bill (HB2081), banning guns at polling places, vote counting centers, and recount centers, has passed the House! This bill protects both voters and election workers from intimidation. Those with guns don’t make the rules. Voters do. [Twitter]
School Board Considers Affordable Housing on School Property — “At a work session Thursday evening, school board members discussed at length whether school properties, specifically the Minnie Howard Campus of Alexandria’s high school, could be a good place to build affordable housing.” [Alexandria Living]
Former Del. Van Landingham Endorses Bennett-Parker for 45th District Seat — “Today, I’m incredibly honored to announce Marian Van Landingham’s endorsement. She served the 45th District for 24 years as a Delegate, and has been a champion for better schools, better childcare services, and for a thriving and inclusive Alexandria.” [Twitter]
ALIVE! Food Distribution is this Saturday — “On Sat, Jan 30, 8:30-10:30 am, @ALIVE4AlexVA will distribute food in Cora Kelly Elementary School parking lot (3600 Commonwealth Ave) and parking lot B-1 of NOVA-Alexandria Campus (via Dawes Ave; map at alive-inc.org).” [Twitter]
Casa Chirilagua Needs Volunteers — “VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: Fill grocery bags at our food pantry every other Tuesday from 4 to 6 pm (changed from Monday mornings). Email [email protected] to join in!” [Facebook]
New Job: In-Person After School Tutor — “Our current after-school instructor opportunities are for students of financially challenged families that are in need of affordable academic assistance.” [Indeed]
Alexandria Women Create At-Home Escape Room — “Escape Notice Games will be releasing a second game titled “Spies of Liberty” in the spring of 2021. This game will be based on George Washington’s Culper Spy Ring and players will have to solve 15 puzzles to help Washington defeat the British.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Local Churches Organize 20 Ton Food Drive — “The truck came across the country with twenty tons of food items like pasta, flour, black beans, corn, soup, peaches, pasta sauce, pancake mix, peanut butter, mayonnaise, green beans, and more!” [Zebra]
Mayor Critiques “Herd Immunity” Suggestion — “If we apply the current US death rate of 1.9% to that case total, we will lose another 1,400 Alexandrians during that time, on top of the 82 that we have sadly lost already.” [Twitter]
Duncan Branch Library Looking for New Aide — “Duncan Branch Library The Alexandria Library is looking for enthusiastic individuals to join the Circulation team with the Alexandria Library. The ideal candidates will have exceptional customer service skills and the desire to contribute to a busy neighborhood library.” [City of Alexandria]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
Historic Old Town Home Uprooted and Relocated — “If you were driving down Washington Street Wednesday, you may have noticed a historic brick townhouse being moved on beams and dollies.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Duke Street’s Transit Focused Redesign Starts — “In early 2021, city staff will begin collecting community input for the future of the Duke Street Corridor from Landmark Mall to the King Street Metro Station.” [Alexandria Times]
Best Places for Christmas Lights Around Alexandria — “An increasing number of cars are driving around with Christmas trees on top and slowly but surely, homeowners are decking their homes with lights and holiday displays. Here are a few places to see the region’s best holiday displays.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]
Local Salvation Army Handles Decreased Giving but Increased Demand — “At the same time, the organization is seeing an increase in demand. Already serving more than 23 million Americans each year, the Salvation Army expects to help an additional 6.5 million people this holiday season.” [Alexandria Gazette]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
“We have given away 1.1 million pounds of food since the pandemic began,” ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers told ALXnow. “The food need continues to grow. The need is still there and we need all the food and financial support we can get to continue to do what we have to do.”
The five mile race is traditionally attended by thousands. Registration costs $10 for children, $20 for ages 13-20, and $25 for everyone else.
“The 2020 Turkey Trot will be a little different from past years,” notes the Turkey Trot website. “First off, this year will be a virtual event, and you will be able to submit a time from any 5 mile run you complete between November 21 and November 29, 2020.”
Donations are already piling up at distribution points.
“Del Ray, as always, we’re blown away by your generosity,” Visit Del Ray said in a Facebook post. “Already, you’ve FILLED the sidewalk in front of The Dog Store for our food drive for ALIVE — and this is just one of our six drop-off locations!”
This year ALIVE! needs the following:
- One-pound bags of rice
- One-pound bags of dried beans
- Macaroni and cheese boxes
- Canned vegetable, soup and fruit (14-15 oz.)
- Canned tuna or canned chicken
- Baking mix, such as Bisquick (5-7 oz.)
- Peanut butter
The food can be dropped at these locations:
- Old Town North Farmers’ Market (Thursday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
- Del Ray Psych & Wellness
- Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap
- Del Ray Farmers’ Market (Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon)
- The Dog Store
- Waxing The City
- The front porches of 403 E. Custis Avenue and 110 E. Del Ray Avenue
Incidentally, the first Alexandria Turkey Trot in 1975 had 244 participants, and was won by Jack Mehurin in 25 minutes and seven seconds. Last year’s race had 4,965 entries and was won by 23-year-old Ryan Forsyth in 23 minutes and 34 seconds.
There’s more than one way to support ALIVE!, like the first annual Turkey Squat at T.C. Williams High School.
Here’s how you can support ALIVE! this Thanksgiving! ALIVE! is thankful for you and our community! https://t.co/3wurxW2APn
— ALIVE! (@ALIVE4AlexVA) November 22, 2020
This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Lisa Groover of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Lisa at 703-919-4426 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.
Question: Do you have any recommendations for ways to give back to other Alexandria residents during the holiday season and beyond?
Answer: As we all know, this holiday season is unlike any other. Many families are not able to travel to be with one another, group gatherings are out of the picture and dining in restaurants is not comfortable for most. But a common thread with this holiday season and previous ones is the importance of giving back.
As a member of the McEnearney Associates team in Alexandria, I am proud to live and work in a community that I love. You see, there is an important difference at McEnearney… “It’s not about us, it’s about you.” Not only when working with our clients, but also in giving back to the community.
This is the year to toss aside the “this is the way we have always done it” standard and think of different ways we can help. McEnearney’s long-standing support of the holiday event at Hopkins House will still include fun gifts for the children, but instead of sitting on Santa’s lap, he will be speaking to them via video. Target Gift Cards for The Boys and Girls Club of Alexandria will provide an opportunity for purchasing gifts of their choosing.
Between delivering Meals on Wheels, holding community coat and food drives, supporting of organizations that help with home repairs, and getting involved with stopping child abuse, women transitioning from prison, homelessness, and feeding the hungry… There are so many opportunities to make a difference.
Check out sites like ACT for Alexandria, Volunteer Alexandria and ALIVE! for a sampling of the types of ways you can volunteer your time or money. Or Google a cause you are passionate about and reach out to see how you can help.
As a TWIG, it is my pleasure to be on the fundraising committee in support of INOVA Alexandria Hospital. With the need to cancel the Annual Homes Tour and to have the thrift shop closed during the pandemic, our annual fundraising has been drastically reduced.
Are you familiar with SCAN (Stop Child Abuse Now)? Started by a local Alexandrian for a very important cause and like so many other organizations, their annual fundraising gala was cancelled this year, and they can use your help. For more information about SCAN, please visit scanva.org.
What about random acts of kindness? Do you know of someone who has been ill or could use a surprise? Drop off an unexpected little gift — you can always leave it on their front porch. The feedback I receive from my neighbors, friends and clients when I do this throughout the year is one of sincere appreciation no matter how small the gesture.
Feel free to reach out to me with any questions about any of these organizations or for help finding one that best fits your passions. I am also readily available to connect you with like-minded individuals in our community where you can make a difference.
Lisa Groover is a licensed real estate agent with McEnearney Associates, Inc. in Old Town Alexandria. Having had seven golden retrievers since moving to Alexandria in 1989, she is dedicated to helping other dog owners through the challenges of renting, buying and selling their home.
If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.
McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. www.McEnearney.com Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria