Alexandria, VA

A new free Friday food distribution at Casa Chirilagua in Arlandria has been set to help the community through most of the summer.

More than 1,000 boxes of fresh food from the Baltimore, Maryland-based Church of the Apostles in the City was given to residents, who lined up through the trails and around the football field at Four Mile Run Park.

“This is the first Friday that we’re doing this mass food distribution and it will continue for the next seven Fridays,” Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gómez Schellhaas told ALXnow.

Arlandria has some of the highest numbers of COVID-19, and is home to some of the city’s poorest residents.

Jay Baylor is the pastor at Church of the Apostles, and said that the church will deliver a truckload of food every week.

“When COVID hit, we upped our game and started delivering more food in our neighborhood in East Baltimore,” Baylor said. “Last week we brought 15 pallets down here to Casa Chirilagua and 10 pallets to Old Town Community Church.”

Arlandria resident Sophia Reyes had trouble carrying the 40 pounds of food home. Reyes, who lives with her daughter and granddaughter, said that the family has been dependent on weekly food distributions in the community.

“[My daughter] can’t work and it is very important for us to get this food,” Reyes said.

ALIVE! will also hold its next monthly food distribution on Saturday morning.

The “truck-to-trunk” food distribution will be held at ALIVE! from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. in the parking lots of Cora Kelly School and John Adams Elementary School. People who walk to the site are asked to observe social distancing.

Staff photos by James Cullum

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ALIVE! is providing food at a number of free distributions this week, and needs volunteers to help pack groceries for food-insecure homes in Alexandria with COVID-19 positive residents.

“We need volunteers to pack shelf-stable food to distribute to people in quarantine,” ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers told ALXnow. “We’re also ready to go with four food distributions this week.”

Volunteers can sign up through Volunteer Alexandria. The packing position is unrelated to the other grocery packing volunteer efforts, and volunteers will have to have their temperatures taken before working, and gloves will be provided.

ALIVE! Meal Distribution This Week

On Thursday, ALIVE! will partner with World Central Kitchen for its weekly food distribution, which will be held at William Ramsay Elementary School at 5 p.m.

In a separate event on Thursday, ALIVE! is partnering with Washington Street United Methodist Church and Royal Restaurant to distribute meals at Charles Houston Recreation Center from 4-6 p.m.

On Saturday, the nonprofit will also conduct drive-thru and walkup distributions from 8:30-10:30 a.m. in the parking lots of Cora Kelly School and John Adams Elementary School. People who walk to the site are asked to observe social distancing.

Last month, ALIVE! distributed more than 98,000 pounds of food, and is also giving food to more than 500 individuals stuck at home, as opposed to an average of about 200 families before the crisis. Additionally, the nonprofit is delivering meals to more than a dozen homeless individuals being housed in hotels in the city.

Just a reminder!

Posted by ALIVE on Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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Morning Notes

‘Good. Works. Alexandria’ Giving Event is Today — “Alexandria’s stores and restaurants will give a percentage of their sales to the charities of the customers’ choice.  For every lunch or dinner ordered OR purchase made, we will share those profits with clientele’s charity of choice located on the Spring2ACTion website.” [Old Town Business Association]

Here’s What Services Will Open Under Phase 1  — “As the region proceeds through the reopening phases the Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities, City of Alexandria, VA has released the schedule of how recreation services, facilities and programs will be restored.” [Facebook]

Beyer Opposes Trump’s July 4 Parade Proposal — “Members of Congress representing the national capital region strongly oppose Trump’s plans to hold another large military parade in Washington DC on July Fourth as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hit the area hard. This is a bad idea and could put many people in danger.” [Twitter]

ARHA Opening Waiting List for Two Days Only — “If you are looking for housing in Alexandria and you fit the criteria, apply. The list is open for only 2 days (June 1 and 2).” [Facebook]

Volunteer Alexandria Needs Help Preparing Meal Distribution — “Help feed your neighbors on Thursday, May 28, 3:30 to 6:00 P.M. Washington Street UMC, ALIVE!, ARHA, Royal Restaurant, Charles Houston Recreation Center, and Volunteer Alexandria have come together to offer meals/groceries for area residents. Bring your mask and join us to help with set up, meal/grocery distribution, and clean up.” [Facebook]

Bishop Ireton High School Holds Commencement Online — “Congratulations to the extremely talented Class of 2020! So very proud of you!! You will be missed!” [Facebook]

ALIVE! Thanks Great Harvest Bread Co. for Weekly Donation — “Thank you Great Harvest Bread of Alexandria for your twice weekly donations of fresh baked loaves for ALIVE!’s Truck-to-Trunk and our community partners.” [Facebook]

Chamber of Commerce Hosting Biz Reopening Webinar Today — “Join us for The Chamber ALX’s latest series, ‘Reopening: The New Normal’ (at 11 .m.). Each 30-minute session will feature a different business, sharing what their customers and the community can expect from them in Phase One and beyond. [Chamber of Commerce]

New Job: Police Communications Specialist — “The Police Communications Specialist position plays a critical role in the success of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA’s) Metro Transit Police Department. Police Communication Specialists are responsible for answering and dispatching the appropriate Police, Fire, or Emergency Medical Services personnel for calls received by Metro customers and employees.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Alexandria Family Recovers From COVID-19 — “In early March, 18-year-old Ana Murphy came down with a sinus infection. But as her symptoms persisted, her parents, Gregg and Monica Murphy, both became ill. It was then that the family began to suspect that this was not a normal seasonal virus.” [Gazette]

Beyer Criticizes Maskless President Trump at Memorial Day Ceremony — “It’s true today and every day: the President should lead by example instead of ignoring health precautions designed to protect the public.” [Twitter]

Pork Barrel BBQ Drops Off 300 Meals at COVID-19 Testing Sites — “This afternoon we dropped off 300 meals at the Landmark & Cora Kelly COVID testing sites. One of our more memorable jobs that’s for sure. THANK YOU to all the emergency responders and volunteers administering tests today, we appreciate you!” [Facebook]

Inova COVID Hospital Fund Gets $100,000 Contribution — “Twig’s contribution to this fund helps Alexandria meet the escalating needs of COVID-19 patients by providing for additional staffing, personal protection equipment for our front line heroes, specialized equipment for the unique needs of COVID-19 patients, increased services for homebound families, and other resources to address the rapidly changing situation.” [Zebra]

Here’s How to Get Rental Assistance in Alexandria — “Applications received through Friday, May 29 will be reviewed as part of the first application cycle, with priority given to applicants in the Tier 1 income range. Applications received after May 29 will be reviewed on a rolling basis contingent on funding availability.” [Facebook]

Jason and Loren Yates Donate $12K in Face Masks to Local Groups — “The masks were sent to the volunteers in local service organizations including Senior Services of Alexandria delivering Meals on Wheels, ALIVE, Carpenter’s Shelter, Casa Chirilagua, and the Grace Episcopal Food Bank.” [Zebra]

New Job: Alexandria Health Department Communications Officer — “The Communications Officer reports directly to the Population Health Manager, is AHD’s principal communications subject matter expert, and provides oversight of AHD’s internal and external communications. They plan, design, implement, and evaluate AHD public relations, publications, and promotional health and service communications.” [Indeed]

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Casa Chirilagua and Neighborhood Health‘s efforts to increase the amount of COVID-19 testing in Arlandria have been rewarded by a $10,000 donation from AT&T split between the two nonprofits.

“At AT&T, we want to be there when our communities need us,” said Garrett McGuire, the AT&T regional director of external and legislative affairs, in a statement. “Chirilagua has faced many challenges during this pandemic, so we wanted to do what we could to help.”

Last Saturday, Neighborhood Health provided hundreds of free coronavirus tests outside Casa Chirilagua, and the nonprofit’s executive director said that the $5,000 donation came at a pivotal time.

“With this contribution, we were able to set up and administer testing and consultations at the Casa Chirilagua site,”Dr. Basim Khan said. “With this contribution, we were able to set up and administer testing and consultations at the Casa Chirilagua site. This additional testing is helping us identify and bring into care individuals who otherwise would have gone untested and unconnected to the care they need.”

Arlandria is also known as Chirilagua, after a municipality in El Salvador of the same name. The community, which is in the 22305 ZIP code, is heavily Hispanic and has 463 reported cases and an estimated population of 16,095. Hispanic residents make up 17% of the population and are leading with the highest number of cases in the city, with 783 reported cases, six deaths and 75 hospitalizations.

The actual number of cases in the community is unclear, since many residents live in packed housing and do not have health insurance and access to transportation.

Casa Chirilagua will use its $5,000 contribution to expand its outreach in Arlandria.

“AT&T’s response to the needs in the community brings a message of hope to those who have been terribly impacted by this crisis and ensures families have what they need to withstand this pandemic,” Casa Chirilagua Executive Director Adriana Gómez Schellhaas said. “Together, we can get through this, and we are extremely grateful for AT&T’s support of the community and for leading the way to a better future!”

Staff photo by James Cullum

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With a line around the block, Casa Chirilagua and World Central Kitchen gave out 1,500 meals to families in Arlandria on Thursday afternoon.

Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow that there will be a new community food distribution next Thursday at Charles Houston Recreation Center. The food is being provided by Washington Street United Methodist Church, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority and Royal Restaurant from 4 to 6 p.m.

Volunteers can sign up for the distribution here.

“If they decide this works and is a good need, they will do it bi-weekly,” Brunken told ALXnow.

In Arlandria, the food was provided by Taco Bamba in D.C., and community volunteers gave it out over the course of an hour. The meals were made of chicken, vegetables and rice. The residents also received bags of groceries from ALIVE!

Next week’s World Central Kitchen food distribution will be at William Ramsay Elementary School after 5 p.m.

Staff photos by James Cullum

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Morning Notes

Uncertainty Lingers for Furloughed Alexandrians — “When Joy Phansond was furloughed from her job as sales coordinator at the Holiday Inn in Old Town, the temporary layoff was initially supposed to last until April 5. Then it was extended to May 5. Then it was extended again until June 5.” [Gazette]

Cinema Del Ray Canceled Due to Coronavirus — “Due to COVID-19, we must ensure the safety of our fellow community members by canceling Cinema Del Ray 2020. We greatly appreciate the support Cinema Del Ray has been shown in the past. We will be back next year, better than ever!” [Facebook]

Old Town Spanish Restaurant ‘La Tasca’ Files for Bankruptcy — “In the past two years, La Tasca has closed two locations in Chinatown and Clarendon.” [Washington Business Journal]

Food Trucks Lift Spirits in Cameron Station — “Rothschild started reaching out to various food truck vendors on March 25, and shortly thereafter she landed her first truck to visit the neighborhood, at the corner of Cameron Station Boulevard and Harold Secord Street – barbecue purveyor Smoking Kow. And neighbors were ready for a feast.” [Gazette]

Tenants and Workers United Raises $16K for Arlandria Community — “Many of our members have had their work hours reduced or been laid off completely. For the undocumented community, there is no social safety net: no unemployment benefits and no stimulus check from the federal government.” [actblue.com]

Contest: Alexandria Living Magazine Gives Away $600 in Merchandise — “Along with KH Giving, we can finally announce the winner of this week’s Mission Masks giveaway! Dixie won $600 worth of prizes including $250 in gift cards from Sweet Fire Donna’s, $100 from Chadwicks and $100 from Bastille and more! These gift cards are all purchased from local restaurants as a way to support them.” [Facebook]

Photos: Meal Distribution at William Ramsey Elementary — “Enjoy these photos of ACPS meal distribution at William Ramsey Elementary School. Thank you to volunteer and photographer, Chris Castillo.” [Facebook]

How Funeral Homes and Cemeteries are Coping in Alexandria — “Some immediate families of the deceased elect to have ceremonies recorded or live streamed for extended family and friends who cannot be present. Others are opting to hold a memorial service at a later date, when larger groups may be able to congregate, rather than a funeral with restricted attendees now.” [Alex Times]

‘La Brocante’ and ‘Top It Off’ Open This Weekend in Del Ray — “La Brocante and Top It Off are now both open on the weekends only (including TODAY until 5 p.m.), with social distancing measures in place (extra sanitizing, limits on the number of people in the stores, and face masks).” [Facebook]

‘Pacers Running’ Donates Shoes to ‘Together We Bake’ — “Thank you @runpacers and @on_running for giving running shoes to our TWB family! We’re excited to break in our shoes.” [Facebook]

New Job: Member Marketing Manager — “We are looking for someone passionate and analytical who loves product marketing. The purpose of this role is to help drive many stakeholders across many departments to inspire members to act on our top opportunities. If you love coordinating complex marketing campaigns, then this job is for you.” [Indeed]

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The George Washington Middle School Parent Teacher Association is donating $9,000 to Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) to help restore the exterior grounds of the school.

A memo regarding the donation said last December a community member approached ACPS about starting a fundraiser to help restore some of the outdoor learning space at the school. The GW PTA donated a total of $9,000 on May 13. Any donations above $2,500 must be approved the School Board, which is scheduled to review the donation at tomorrow’s meeting.

“The donation will support the well-being of students and staff at George Washington Middle School by providing a restored outdoor space that can be used for learning, instruction and other educational purposes,” staff said in the memo. “The donation has no identified undesirable, unacceptable, or hidden costs. It will serve all students, staff and community of George Washington Middle School.”

If the donation is approved, the memo states that the ACPS Operations Department will work through the next steps needed to restore the school’s outdoor learning space.

Like the rest of ACPS, GW is currently closed for the remainder of the school year.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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After receiving two recent donations totaling $150,000, ACT for Alexandria is nearing $1 million for its ACT Now COVID-19 response fund, and the organization will be taking a break from giving grants to nonprofits to plan for the summer.

“We’re working with the city and our nonprofit partners to think through what the next phase of recovery is going to look like,” ACT for Alexandria President and CEO Heather Peeler told ALXnow. “We’ll be pausing grant making for a couple of weeks. While we talk through and get a better sense for how the needs of our community are evolving.”

Last week, Act for Alexandria was notified that it won two unsolicited grants, one for $50,000 from the Myer Foundation and another $150,000 grant from the Frank and Betty Wright Foundation.

Peeler set a personal goal of raising $1 million for the fund by the end of the summer, and the recent grants have put the total raised at more than $985,000. As of mid-May, the fund has awarded $686,860 in grants to Alexandria nonprofits, including ALIVE!, Together We Bake and Neighborhood Health.

ACT for Alexandria will pause the grants from May 26 until mid-June.

Last month, the organization also raised a record $2.45 million for 156 nonprofits during the Spring2ACTion event, and the platform remains open to donate to local organizations.

“Our strategy is to constantly share the work that the nonprofits are doing in our community,” Peeler said. “By showing that all the donations are making a real difference in people’s lives, that’s the best strategy for engaging donors and helping them see how they can continue to make a difference.”

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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Mask makers, translators and grocery bag packers are just a few of the opportunities that Volunteer Alexandria has identified around the city.

“Every week, we need more than 100 volunteers to help our community to help people in need,” Volunteer Alexandria Executive Director Marion Brunken told ALXnow.

The following volunteer opportunities are now available:

Additionally, Volunteer Alexandria needs help making face masks.

Sewers needed to make masks. If you have a sewing machine — your sewing skills are needed to make masks. Have a sewing…

Posted by Volunteer Alexandria on Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Photo via DASH/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Beyer Co-Sponsors COVID-19 Testing Legislation — “NEW: today I introduced bipartisan legislation to boost innovation for COVID-19 testing with my @HouseScience colleague @RepAGonzalez.” [Twitter]

Chamber of Commerce Hosting Virtual General Assembly Breakfast Thursday — “Please join us on May 21st for a timely virtual conversation with our General Assembly delegation.  The delegation will discuss the 2020 session, Virginia’s COVID-19 response and the challenges currently facing the Commonwealth.” [Chamber of Commerce]

Sheriff’s Deputy Recognizes Memorial Day, Virtually Colors With Kids — “With Memorial Day approaching, Deputy Smith talks about the role and responsibilities of the U.S. military and what it means to be a service member.” [Facebook]

Police Recognize Peace Officer Memorial Day — “This past Friday was Peace Officer Memorial Day. Sgt. Harrington took a quiet moment alone at the Alexandria Police Fallen Officers Memorial to record a message. We remember and honor all those across the country that have died in the line of duty.” [Twitter]

Trinity United Methodist Church Collecting Food Today — “Reminder that Trinity United Methodist Church will be collecting non-perishable goods in our parking lot each Wednesday from 4 to 7 p.m. near the food trucks. The food is delivered to Rising Hope United Methodist Church to support their food pantry for the homeless and low-income families in this time of need.” [Rising Hope UMC]

United Community Pantry Sees 500% Increase Since February — “This mobile food distribution program is critical to help our neighbors in need – many of whom simply cannot reach us at our food pantry.” [Zebra]

Dog-Themed Del Ray T-Shirt Helps Restaurants — “All sales of the $25 t-shirt which are available in purple and green are going toward the employee funds at Del Ray restaurants.” [Zebra]

New Job: Direct Response Copywriter — “We’re looking for Copywriters of all experience levels, be it 2 years of experience or 30; if you can write compelling copy that can inspire anyone to do anything, this role is for you.” [Indeed]

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Morning Notes

Arlandria in Crisis Over COVID-19 Spread — “Azucena Esquival lives in a cramped apartment in the Arlandria neighborhood of Alexandria, where the problem of community spread isn’t just theoretical. The pandemic is in her household. Earlier this month, she tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Another adult in her household paid $300 to get a test, which was also positive. They are living with two people who have not been tested. None of them are currently working, and they have no source of income.” [Gazette]

Alexandria Unemployment Claims Spike — “As of the Times’ print deadline, Alexandria residents had filed 10,609 initial unemployment claims, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. Initial claims began pouring in throughout mid-March, climbing from 33 the week of March 14 to 797 the week of March 21.” [Alex Times]

Senior Shoppers Surprised with $100 Cash Visa Cards at Alexandria Safeway — “Shoppers at the Safeway in Alexandria on King Street were surprised this morning with $100 gift cards at checkout courtesy of PenFed Credit Union. In all, there were 100 cards disbursed to customers in addition to goodie bags containing face masks and hand sanitizers.” [Zebra]

‘The Dog Park’ Having Anniversary Sale — “10 years ago on May 15th, The Dog Park opened it’s doors! We had a 10 day celebration planned but due to the ongoing crisis we decided to postpone the event until our customers feel more comfortable leaving their homes. However we can still celebrate.🐾 On Friday, May 15th we will be having an Anniversary Sale. EVERYTHING (with the exception of can/kibble) is 10% OFF to honor our anniversary.” [Facebook]

Teacher Does Extra to Help Student Online — “Virtual High Five! Ms. Hall congratulates one of her kindergarten students during a 1:1 zoom session. Ms. Hall noticed during their synchronous math class yesterday that this student was struggling with a concept and scheduled an extra 1:1 zoom session to work through it.” [Facebook]

Here’s How to Thank Hospital Heroes — “We have been grateful for the outpouring of support our community has provided our healthcare heroes! We are sharing notes of gratitude sent for #InovaHeroes. If you would like to send a message to an Inova team member, send an email to…” [Facebook]

Pork Barrel BBQ Buys Fancy New Red Tent — “We have UPGRADED to a bigger and better tent! Pick up all your orders for Pork Barrel BBQ, Holy Cow Del Ray and The Sushi Bar at the BIG RED TENT from here on out!” [Facebook]

Scholarship Fund of Alexandria Auctions Gift Cards to Local Restaurants — “Click Below & Bid! And then…order some takeout for dinner to support THEM in this time of COVID (https://events.handbid.com/…/scholarship-fund-of-alex…/items). ALERT: Some Gift Cards are ALREADY SOLD through our Buy-it-Now Option. Get Bidding before it’s too late.” [Facebook]

Carpenter’s Shelter Honors Volunteer of the Week — “Our Volunteer of the Week, Angela of DC Metro Church, truly has a heart for the children of the shelter. For over 4 years, she participated weekly in Children’s Hour at the shelter, a program in which volunteers interacted with and entertained kids in shelter for an hour on weekday evenings. After the weekends, the children would be jumping out of their seats in anticipation of children’s hour with Angela every Monday! Even now, with our children’s hour program suspended due to COVID-19, she donates to help our families currently housed in a hotel. Thank you Angela for your huge heart and years of service to our families.” [Facebook]

New Job: WMATA Assistant Superintendent — “This is technical management, supervisory and administrative building and support equipment maintenance work. Employee in this job is responsible for assisting in the planning, scheduling, inspecting, managing, coordinating and establishing work priorities for major Plant Maintenance activities.” [Indeed]

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