Back in September, Scott Thomas and Natalie Puri donated their personal food to ALIVE!, and soon after the couple were volunteering for the nonprofit, driving a food truck around the city and directing food distribution efforts.
“I asked if they needed volunteers and they asked if I could drive a truck,” Thomas told ALXnow. “That was on a Tuesday. By Friday I was going on a test drive.”
Thomas, who serves full time in the U.S. Navy, now manages multiple truck-to-trunk food giveaways at Cora Kelly School and John Adams Elementary School. It’s an important job that takes up two Saturdays and up to 12 hours of their time every month (Puri directs traffic at the events), but Thomas says it’s worth it.
“I’m always glad that I did it, because I think it’s valuable,” he said. “I think it would get done without me, but I’m glad to play a part.”
ALIVE! currently needs volunteers, all of whom are vetted through Volunteer Alexandria.
Thomas has noticed a change in the clientele since the coronavirus hit the city.
“You realize people are in dire straits,” he said. “We started seeing folks in very nice cars, new suburbans, and those are $70,000. You think in your mind that one of the owners could have been a bartender and the other worked at a health club, and they could afford a car like that, but now they’re both out of a job.”
He also looks forward to the end of the pandemic and no longer wearing a face mask.
“The worst part is not see people’s faces,” he said. “There’s a fine line from being very prosperous and standing in line for food. But I can tell that they are very grateful.”
Survey Shows Discontent Among APD Officers — “A survey that the Times acquired from a former Alexandria Police Department officer revealed that several APD officers are unhappy with Police Chief Michael Brown and the culture of the department.” [AlexTimes]
Nearly 1K Families Supported in ALIVE! Food Distribution — “929 households were served at today’s ALIVE! Food Distribution! Thanks to all those from @Volalex, @AlexVASheriff, @AlexandriaVATES who helped in the hot weather today to supply groceries,(meat,eggs,produce and more) masks and hand sanitizer to people in need.” [Twitter]
Police Warn of Phone Scam — “If you receive a call, the individual says that there are warrants for your arrest. Next, instructions are given on how to pay a large sum of money. Then your call is forwarded to another person who explains a ‘surety voucher.'” [Zebra]
New Fire Station Construction is Coming Along — “The @AlexandriaVAFD Station 203 is coming along on the corner of Cameron Mills & Monticello….getting ready for its close-up! [Twitter]
Today’s Weather — It will be mostly sunny throughout the day, with a high temperature of 97 degrees. [Weather.com]
New Job: Freelance Photographer/Videographer — “We need someone with a strong work ethic who can go to job sites pre remodeling, during work, and at completion to take photographs and a short video clip for uploading to youtube.” [Indeed]
Beyer Says Acting Homeland Security Chief Should Resign — “Ordering the occupation of US cities, seeking the escalation of violence, and intentionally risking American lives over peaceful protests and graffiti is unfathomable and unacceptable. Acting Secretary Wolf must resign immediately or be fired.” [Twitter]
Del Ray Used Book Store to Open in August — “Piles and boxes of thousands of donated books crowd Donald Alexander’s house as he prepares to turn his vision for a used bookstore in Del Ray into reality.” [Alexandria Living]
Police Report Carjacking on Edsall Road — “The Alexandria Police Department is investigating a carjacking in the 6000 block of Edsall Road. There were no injuries. Expect police activity in the area.” [Twitter]
ACPS Staff Discussion on Reopening Today at 12:30 p.m. — “In order to be able to hear voices from across every school during the Reopening Community Chats, ACPS has asked for representation from various staff groups across the school division to serve as conduits for feedback and questions from their school, department, office or facility.” [ACPS]
Food Drive at Trinity UMC Wednesday — “Thank you to all who have and are continuing to contribute to the food drive for Rising Hope United Methodist Church, which takes place each Wednesday from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church.” [Rising Hope UMC]
Metro Expanding Operations in Mid-August — “Metro will add more buses, more trains, and more hours of service beginning on August 16, restoring most service to pre-Covid levels while maintaining a strong response posture to Covid-19. Metrorail will add 15 hours more service per week, with opening times returning to normal and the system closing two hours later each night in anticipation of potential increases in ridership after Labor Day.” [Facebook]
New Job: Nanny — “MyWoosah provides personalized childcare solutions for busy families across the country. Our services include childcare, transportation, home management, and nanny share.” [Indeed]
On Saturday, ALIVE! provided hundreds of hungry families with free food at it’s mid-month free food distribution at Cora Kelly School and John Adams Elementary. The nonprofit has given out three times more food on a monthly basis since the pandemic hit the city, and the only way it’s been made possible has been through the efforts of Volunteer Alexandria.
“People respond to our calls to action,” Marion Brunken, executive director of Volunteer Alexandria, told ALXnow. “Our data shows that there are three times as many volunteers before COVID that signed up to volunteer. That translates to 7,500 people.”
Many of the volunteers that dropped out from the roster at Volunteer Alexandria and ALIVE! are seniors citizens, who are restricted from donating their time since it is a health hazard. Of the 57 fatalities from the virus in Alexandria, all but one of them are above the age of 50. Consequently, no volunteers are allowed over the age of 64.
Jennifer Ayers, the executive director of ALIVE! said that there is still a need for volunteers to pack groceries for families. The nonprofit has given out hundreds of thousands of pounds of food since March.
“There is still a huge need daily to bag the groceries,” she said. “And the moratorium on evictions is expiring this month. We are still going to see evictions going up and there will be an increased need for financial support. If you have a choice between rent or food, if we can provide one of those things, we will.”
Right now, Volunteer Alexandria is looking for helpers to package 30,000 face masks (20,000 from the State Department and 10,000 from the city) to be sent out to nonprofits.
The pandemic also forced ALIVE! to temporarily shutter its furniture distribution and child care programs, and have focused on food distribution at more than a dozen locations around the city. Now after months of nonstop work, Ayers and Brunken have to motivate their staffs and keep them from burning out.
“I work every day, weird hours sometimes,” Ayers said. “I try to raise a lot of money and talk to a lot of people. Sometimes I wake up and the first thing I think about is work… My food staff is really tired and cranky. We’re working really hard.”
Photo via ALIVE!/Facebook
The Alexandria Community Alliance has raised $12,670 in a GoFundMe campaign for Alexandria families impacted by COVID-19.
The nonprofit was formed shortly after the pandemic struck Alexandria, and is reportedly helping more than 50 families a week with bare necessities like food, toiletries and cleaning supplies.
“Many of these families are unemployed and not eligible for benefits,” the GoFundMe organizers wrote on the GoFundMe page. “We are helping to provide supplies that other organizations aren’t.”
The Alliance was originally created as the Alexandrians Supporting Alexandrians During COVID Facebook page. The group says it needs more donations.
“Once we deliver supplies we check back in with families every other week to see if they need anything else,” according to the Alliance. “There are lots of families that we can help with a regular delivery of groceries and supplies.”
Photo via ALIVE!/Facebook
Beyer Doubles Down on Trump Stance on School Reopenings — “Trump has again overruled the nation’s leading public health officials for political reasons, this time on guidance for reopening schools. He is intentionally endangering American children because he believes it will help him get reelected.” [Twitter]
Planning Commission to Evaluate Increasing School Density — The Planning Commission’s September 2 docket has been posted to the city’s website, and it includes a discussion to allow for an increase in density for public school sites. Since last fall, the city and administrators have been coordinating on a plan to co-locate affordable housing on school grounds. [City of Alexandria]
ACPS Reopening Survey Available Until July 12 — “Today, I am encouraging you to take part in what is surely one of the most important surveys ACPS has ever conducted. Your answers will guide us as we decide how and when to open school buildings, how and when virtual learning becomes necessary and preferable, and how we strike an acceptable balance between the two. As you know, there are no easy answers to the situation we find ourselves in and with the ever-changing landscape we must remain flexible to last-minute pivots. Please complete this survey by July 12 to allow us the time we need to properly prepare our path forward.” [ACPS]
ALIVE! Food Distributions on Saturday — “This Saturday, July 11, ALIVE! will be offering a “Truck-to-Trunk” distribution of food for residents who continue to be impacted financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shelf-stable groceries will be handed out at the John Adams Elementary School and Cora Kelly Elementary School parking lots, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., or until supplies run out.” [City of Alexandria]
Lyceum Reopening on Friday — “The Alexandria History Museum at the Lyceum will reopen to the public this Friday, July 10, at 11 a.m., with modified hours and new safety protocols. Exhibit galleries will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. To promote physical distancing of at least 6 feet between parties of no more than 10 people per party, visitors will be required to obtain timed-entry tickets through the Historic Alexandria online store.” [City of Alexandria]
New Job: Temporary Unarmed Security Officer — “We specialize in commercial, private, and government security, offering both armed and unarmed contract services. Please take the time to read this advertisement carefully as this posting is for TEMPORARY Unarmed Security Officers in Alexandria, Virginia.” [Indeed]
Mayor Decries Hate Incidents in Alexandria — “Two sad examples of hate in our community this week. This is not who we are as a City. We reject those that would spew hate and target members of our community. I hope that any violation of the law will be addressed aggressively by City, State and Federal officials, as applicable.” [Facebook]
Beyer Says Trump Doesn’t Care About Children — “Trump’s approach all along has been to pretend a miraculous end to the pandemic is just around the corner. He doesn’t have a plan. He isn’t going to lead. He doesn’t care about making schools safe for children and educators. It’s so important to get this right.” [Twitter]
The Tall Ship Providence Now Open — “Tall Ship Providence is open for Private Tours, Private Lunchtime Tours, and Happy Hours.” [Tall Ship Providence]
Food Distribution at Charles Houston Recreation Center on Thursday — “ALIVE!, in coordination with Washington Street United Methodist Church, Royal Restaurant, ARHA, and the City of Alexandria, will distribute bags of shelf-stable groceries and boxes of produce on Thursday, July 9 from 4 pm – 5:30 pm, or until supplies run out, at the parking lot of Charles Houston Recreation Center.” [ALIVE!]
There’s a New Phone Support Line for Alexandria Parents — “Phone lines are answered from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Monday through Friday. Assistance is available in English and Spanish. The person will be there simply to listen or provide guidance on more complex issues.” [Zebra]
Old Town Ghost Tours Are Back — “Follow an 18th century costumed guide by lantern light through the charming streets of Alexandria’s historic district, Old Town. On this entertaining tour you’ll hear ghost stories, legends and folklore.” [Visit Alexandria]
New Job: Dog Daycare Supervisor — “We are looking for individuals that are responsive to our customers, but also that are able to follow the rules and monitor staff that are directly supervising the dogs in our care. You will be on your feet a good majority of the day so please don’t apply if that is a problem.” [Indeed]
Free food distributions will be disrupted by the July 4 weekend in Alexandria, but food is still available.
Most notably there will not be any Alexandria City Public Schools distributions from Friday, July 3, until operations resume on Monday, July 6.
“Meal distribution locations and pop up sites will not operate on Friday, July 3, ahead of the Independence Day holiday,” advised ACPS.
Here are the available free food distribution points in the city this weekend, according to Hunger Free Alexandria.
- A bag lunch and food pantry distribution is available on Friday at Meade Memorial Episcopal Church (322 N. Alfred Street) from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meals and food will be served in the courtyard to go.
- Washington Street United Methodist Church (109 S. Washington Street) has a free breakfast Friday from 6-8 a.m.
- Christ House (131 S. West Street) has evening meals available every night of the week from 4:30 – 6 p.m.
- The ALIVE! food delivery program for COVID-19 patients, seniors, the disabled and single parents with young children is available for eligible residents by calling 703-746-5999
- Rising Hope United Methodist Church (8220 Russell Road) will provide grab-and-go meals from 1 to 2 p.m. on Friday while supplies last
Staff photo by James Cullum
The Del Ray Vintage and Flea Market is Happening — “We are BEYOND excited about having our July Del Ray Vintage & Flea Market AND we are hosting the MV Big Flea! The best of both worlds … come safely shop the flea market, see our new vendors and help support Mount Vernon Community School when you purchase from the MV Big Flea booth! Saturday, July 11th from 9am-1pm.” [Facebook]
New Driving Laws Take Effect July 1 — “On Wednesday, July 1, a new law takes effect in Virginia requiring drivers to stop for pedestrians. Further, the driver may not move until the person walking in their lane has passed safely.” [Zebra]
Marijuana Decriminalized July 1 — “ON JULY 1, VIRGINIA JOINS 26 states and Washington, D.C. in ceasing to jail people for possessing small amounts of cannabis. Gov. Ralph Northam signed SB 2 into law in May. Possession of up to an ounce of marijuana will be punishable by a civil fine of up to $25 instead of a criminal charge that could mean up to 30 days in jail and up to a $500 fine. The bill prohibits employers from requiring applicants to disclose marijuana possession charges.” [Gazette]
Report: More Parents Considering Homeschooling for Their Kids — “The number of families considering homeschooling is skyrocketing according to Anne Miller, executive director of Home Educators Association of Virginia. Miller said their office has been flooded with calls from parents interested in homeschooling, and their Facebook group Homeschooling in Virginia has welcomed nearly 3,500 new members since the virus hit.” [Alexandria Living]
Sheriff’s Deputy Retires — “Our heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Master Deputy Saeed Shakoor! He is retiring after more than 26 years of dedicated service to ASO and the people of Alexandria. We’re sure going to miss you, Deputy Shakoor!” [Facebook]
Lorton Community Action Center Donates to ALIVE! — “This 788 pounds combined with other produce supports 220 food-insecure seniors in the City of Alexandria.” [Facebook]
Port City Brewing Co. Re-Releases Derecho Lager — “Derecho Lager® is named after a violent storm that barreled through the DC Metro region on June 29th, 2012, leaving the brewery without power for five days. Unable to control fermentation temperatures, a tank of freshly brewed pilsner was at risk of being lost. Realizing the beer would not meet the guidelines of a Bohemian Pilsner, we decided to experiment with the beer – keeping fermentation temperatures on the warmer side, and dry-hopping with Centennial hops. These non-traditional techniques paid off, and the result was the creation of our first American Lager!” [Facebook]
New Job: Wax Center Manager — “European Wax Center in Alexandria is currently seeking a sensational Center Manager with passion, determination and a commitment to excellence that will help take our center to new heights.” [Indeed]
Gade Wins Primary, Faces Warner in November Election — “Gade handily defeated Thomas A. Speciale II and Alissa A. Baldwin in Tuesday’s Republican primary with about two-thirds of the votes cast statewide. In the City of Alexandria, Gade received about 63 percent of approximately 2,100 votes cast.” [Alexandria Living]
The Birchmere Reopening in July — “The Birchmere on Mount Vernon Avenue announced that the Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band will perform July 10… During the public health emergency, there will be a $25 food and beverage minimum and a $5 fee the venue is calling a ‘Covid fee.'” [WTOP]
Two Free Food Distributions Today — “There will be a food distribution this Thursday, 6/25 from 5-6pm at John Adams with ALIVE and World Central Kitchen and this Saturday, 6/27 from 8:30-10:30am at both John Adams and Cora Kelly.” [Facebook]
New Job: DASH Temperature and Wellness Screener — “DASH is looking for temporary Temperature and Wellness Screeners to work full-time and part-time at the Alexandria, VA facility. Medical experience and/or a medical certification is preferred but not required. Temporary assignment will start ASAP with end date depending on business needs related to COVID-19.” [Indeed]
New Job: Police Human Resources and Labor Relations Division Chief — “The Human Resources and Labor Relations Division Chief is responsible for a variety of departmental functions including human resources, budgeting, new police officer training, DCJS mandated training, employee wellness, Peer Support and resiliency programs, and engagement with departmental labor groups.” [City of Alexandria]
While new COVID-19 cases are on the decline, local organizations are still working to ensure that residents have access to resources as Alexandria slowly reopens. Here are the next free food distributions in the city today and through the weekend.
There will be a free food distribution at Casa Chirilagua (4109 Mount Vernon Avenue) today (Thursday) from 5 to 7 p.m. People are asked to wear face masks and to bring carts to take food home.
Additionally, every evening Christ House (131 S. West Street) provides a free hot meal from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
On Friday, there will be food distributions at:
- Old Town Community Church (212 S. Washington Street) at noon.
- Bennington Crossings Apartment Homes (441 N. Armistead Street) from 5:30 to 7 p.m.
- Meade Memorial Episcopal Church (322 N. Alfred Street) from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- Washington Street United Methodist Church (109 S Washington St) from 6 to 8 a.m.
Meals and bags of shelf stable groceries.TODAY 5 pm – 6 pm at Casa Chirilagua (4109 Mt Vernon Ave).In cooperation…
ALIVE! is also helping Alexandria City Public Schools with its food distribution, and food is available during the week at the following locations on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
- William Ramsay Elementary School, 5700 Sanger Avenue, from 9 a.m. to noon
- Francis C. Hammond Middle School, 4646 Seminary Road, from 9 a.m. to noon
- Cora Kelly School for Math, Science and Technology, 3600 Commonwealth Avenue, from 9 a.m. to noon
- Jefferson-Houston PreK-8 IB School, 1501 Cameron Street, from 9 a.m. to noon
- T.C. Williams High School, 3330 King Street, from 9 a.m. to noon
- Mason Apartments at South Reynolds Street, from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- Brent Place Apartments at 375 South Reynolds Street, from 11:20 to 11:50 a.m.
- Ruby Tucker Family Center at 322 Tancil Court, from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- Community Lodgings at 607 Notabene Drive, from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- Old Towne West Apartments (parking lot) at 500 South Alfred Street, from 11:20 to 11:50 a.m.
- Corner of Florence Drive and Four Mile Road, from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- The Fields of Alexandria at 4309 Duke Street, from 10:45 to 11:15 a.m.
- Bennington Crossing Apartment Homes at 441 North Armistead Street, from 11:30 a.m. to noon
Staff photo by James Cullum
Beyer Lauds Supreme Court LGBT Decision — “This is such a big step forward. Employers shouldn’t be able to fire people because of who they are or who they love. After a long and difficult struggle by activists and civil rights organization, an historic decision and a great moment for the country.” [Twitter]
Former Mayor Silberberg Marched in D.C. on Saturday — “All around me, there were poignant reminders of all that had transpired in this location in recent days and weeks — handmade signs attached to the remaining fence and bouquets of flowers. And then that evening, there was breaking news about another tragedy, this time in Atlanta. Heartbreaking.” [Facebook]
Twig Junior Auxiliary Donates $100K to Inova Alexandria Hospital — “The Twig Junior Auxiliary of Inova Alexandria Hospital presented a check for $100,000 to Dr. Rina Bansal for the Inova COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness Fund during a May 22 ceremony held outside the hospital’s entrance.” [Gazette]
Feed The Fight ALX Gives Out 5K Meals to Health Care Workers — “Thank you for your continued support, and please continue to follow us in the coming months on Instagram @FeedtheFightALX. We are so grateful to all of our hospital teams and restaurant partners.” [Facebook]
City Recycles 700 Tons of Glass in First Year of Recycling Program — “The City just hit the 1-year mark for the glass recycling program. In that time, 700 tons of glass (1,410,560 lbs) has been recycled through the purple can glass drop-off program. You crushed it Alexandria!” [Facebook]
‘Mind The Mat’ Owner Gets Creative During Pandemic — “I was trying to be this super-serious fitness instructor on camera, and it was not working.” [Washington Post]
Recreation Centers Opening With Modified Schedule June 20 — “These changes are in place to follow the second phase of reopening. Senior-only hours will be introduced to help protect vulnerable persons on the community while providing an opportunity for exercise.” [Zebra]
Scholarship Fund Honoring Awardees With Individualized Social Media Posts — “We’ll be profiling a student each day this week…as they share their joy and gratitude with the Alexandria Community!” [Facebook]
Center for Alexandria’s Children Receives Face Mask Donation — “We received another donation of 100 adult masks and 100 children’s masks for our Learn & PlayGroup families! We are so grateful to Brooksie & Cas and Jenna Adams for investing so much time and energy into making so many great masks.” [Facebook]
Deal: Rent a Pedego Electric Bike, Get Second Rental Half Off — “Pedego Electric Bikes has the perfect solution for cabin fever. Rent one bike and get the second rental 50% off. Enjoy the outdoors, flowers and sunshine with the safest bikes and equipment from Pedego. This offer will be available until further notice.” [Visit Alexandria]
New Job: HR/Office Manager — “Small but busy security company in need of an experienced HR professional who can really multitask. Candidate should be comfortable screening, interviewing and on-boarding applicants.” [Indeed]