Alexandria, VA

Morning Notes

Black History Museum Asks for Help in Conservation Effort — “The Alexandria Black History Museum (BHM) is asking for help from the community. The museum hopes to apply for a conservation grant from the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM)… From Jan. 11 through 20, people can vote for their favorite artifact on the top ten list. The artifact with the most votes will win the People’s Choice Award and $1,000 toward conservation work on the artifact.” [Zebra]

Nothing Bundt Cakes to Open on Duke Street — “Nothing Bundt Cakes is opening its first Alexandria location. The bakery will open at 4553 Duke St., replacing a Subway sandwich shop in the Shoppes at Foxchase in Alexandria’s West End.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Goodwin House to Receive Second Dose of Vaccine This Month — “375 people were vaccinated last month and are awaiting their second dose on January 19. Bagley hopes they’ll vaccinate more people once Governor Ralph Northam initiates Phase 1B, which will allow CVS and other pharmacies to distribute vaccinations.” [WDMV]

Alive! Feeds Hundreds at Food Distribution Event — “Alive!, an Alexandria, faith-based community organization, held its first large scale food distribution drives of the New Year.” [WJLA]

Northam Says Year-Round School is Possibility — “In a press conference this week, Governor Ralph Northam said, ‘One of the things we are entertaining is perhaps year-round schooling for the next year. Perhaps adding increased days this summer. To really help our kids get caught up.'” [Zebra]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Morning Notes

Citizens’ Association Frustrated With ADU Policy Progress — “NRCA supported eight reasonable restrictions and prohibitions on ADUs…we are very disappointed that the vast majority of [our] comments and proposals were not included in the current version of the policy.” [Twitter]

Over 60 Restaurants Participate in January Restaurant Week — “For an extended two-week period, more than 60 restaurants in Alexandria, Virginia, will offer a $49 takeout, delivery or curbside pick-up dinner for two during Alexandria Restaurant Week To-Go, January 22 – February 7, 2021.” [Zebra]

Alexandria-based United Way Accused of Rewarding Sexist Behavior — “For decades, misogyny has been rampant across the organization’s leadership, according to detailed accounts from nine former United Way workers employed at the organization from the early 1990s to the beginning of 2020.” [Business Insider]

Blood Supply Low at Inova — “Inova Blood Donor Services estimates it must collect 200 units of must collect 200 units of blood, platelet, plasma and double red cells a day to meet the needs of the community. As of Jan. 4, the red blood cell inventory is below the desired levels for most blood types.” [Patch]

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After working as close partners through the pandemic, the City of Alexandria and community non-profit ACT for Alexandria have come together to launch a new program called the Alexandria Resilience Fund.

The new fund focuses on allocating funding to organizations dedicated to addressing the racial inequalities exhibited in coronavirus’ impact. The fund looks specifically to support nonprofits that have histories of supporting marginalized communities in Alexandria.

The Fund made grants up to $50,000 to 57 organizations from October to December 30, 2020.

“The City of Alexandria has designated CARES Act funding to establish the Alexandria Resilience Fund, in partnership with ACT for Alexandria,” ACT for Alexandria said on its website. “This effort builds on the significant investment and support provided by the ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund.  This new Fund will support the health and sustainability of local nonprofit organizations that are addressing ongoing and emerging human service needs of City residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

ACT for Alexandria listed additional criteria for the fund on its website:

  • Nonprofit must have the immediate ability to carry out proposed programs/services.
  • Nonprofit must be able to demonstrate how the grant request addresses direct costs incurred due to COVID-19.
  • Nonprofit must demonstrate how this funding request will impact City of Alexandria residents who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19.
  • Nonprofit must be committed to addressing racial equity and demonstrate deep, trusted relationships with communities that have been marginalized and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

So far, the Resilience Fund has raised a little over $1 million, with a goal of $1.5 million.

The ACT Now COVID-19 Response Fund has now re-branded as the Alexandria Resilience Fund., which is distributing money into our community to support the many needs this crisis has created,” Mayor Justin Wilson said in his newsletter. “Please join me in supporting this fundraising effort.”

Image via ACT for Alexandria

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Morning Notes

Local Nonprofit Launches Sign Campaign — “Community Lodgings, an Alexandria non-profit, has started a campaign to spread messages of hope in the community.” [Local DMV]

Alexandria Deputy Retires — “Congratulations and best wishes to Master Deputy George Wooden! He retires this week following 26 years of outstanding service to ASO and the people of Alexandria. Thank you, Deputy Wooden!” [Twitter]

Statewide Bilingual Violence Helpline Launches Next Week — “On Monday, Jan. 4, 2020, victims of violence and injustice who live in Virginia and speak Spanish will have a new ally. That day, the Latinos in Virginia Empowerment Center (LVEC), based in North Chesterfield, will launch a hotline for those in need of assistance.” [Zebra]

Local Charity Serves 600 Families — “Tucked away in an unassuming warehouse on Alexandria’s east side, the Mother of Light Center, a charitable organization, identifies its mission as supporting the poor, the needy, and those experiencing homelessness. The organization runs in partnership with churches, city agencies and private donations.” [Zebra]

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Morning Notes

ALIVE! Emergency Food Distribution This Saturday — “The nonprofit will next distribute emergency groceries at a ‘Truck-to-Trunk’ on Saturday, Dec. 19 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. There will be two locations for the event: the Cora Kelly Elementary School parking lot at 3600 Commonwealth Ave. and the Northern Virginia Community College-Alexandria Campus B-1 parking lot.” [Zebra]

Lena’s Converts Rooftop to Winter Lodge — “Lena’s Wood-Fired Pizza & Tap is expanding its dining experiences by announcing the debut of The Loft at Lena’s — Winter Lodge.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Waterskiing Santa Goes Virtual This Year — “One of Alexandria’s unique holiday traditions is the annual Waterskiing Santa show. The show won’t be canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there won’t be a live show with spectators unlike past years.” [Patch]

New Alexandria Affordable Housing Given Awards — “The @ULIWashington has awarded 2 Alexandria affordable housing projects a 2020 “Trends” Award. The @AHCInc St. James Plaza development was recognized for “Excellence in Housing Affordability” and the @AHDCHousing Parkstone project was “Juror’s Choice.” [Twitter]

Holiday Inn Express to Open at Site of Towne Motel in North Old Town — “A representative of Reston-based Architecture Incorporated confirmed that the new five-story, 50,000-square foot hotel being built at the site will open as a Holiday Inn Express. Renderings of the new hotel were also provided courtesy of the architecture firm.” [Alexandria Living Magazine]

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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A leading Alexandria nonprofit that has given away more than 1 million pounds of food since the pandemic began is ready for the winter.

ALIVE! Executive Director Jennifer Ayers says that her organization is now giving out upward of 180,000 pounds of food every month. Before COVID-19, ALIVE! was giving out about 30,000 pounds of food every month.

“I feel like we’ve reached a level of new reality and we’ve scaled our operation to meet that, but we still feel we haven’t reached the peak of this process, although we’re better prepared to respond to it,” Ayers told ALXnow.

On Saturday, City Council will consider extending a licensing agreement with ALIVE! to keep using the city’s Archives and Records Center at 801 South Payne Street until Nov. 30, 2025. The five-year agreement was initially signed in 2015 and expired this past summer. ALIVE! also uses the old DASH Bus Barn at 116 S. Quaker Lane for food distribution packing and distribution.

ALIVE! also recently launched an eviction prevention program to connect impacted residents.

“We’re seeing more and more people in need of all types of assistance, who are worried that they are going to being evicted,” Ayers said.

ALIVE! is currently conducting a children’t toy drive and recently announced an emergency food popup distribution this Friday, from 3-4:30 p.m. at 200 S. Whiting Street.

Photo via Alive!/Facebook

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Carpenter’s Shelter has invited the community to a ribbon-cutting on Thursday (Dec. 10) for the new shelter for people experiencing homelessness.

“This ribbon-cutting will be held in conjunction with with the Alexandria Housing Development Corporation, who will be celebrating the opening of 97 affordable apartment units named The Bloom at Braddock,” the nonprofit said in a press release.

The new facility will have 60 beds available and ten of the homes in The Bloom will be available for chronically homeless adults. Those saying in the supportive housing units above will have case managers to assist with chronic issues like health, employment and education.

“It’s with pride that we open the doors on this purpose-built space to help Alexandria’s population that is homeless,” said Shannon Steene, executive director of Carpenter Shelter. “But more importantly to be able to work with a great organization in AHDC to also increase the city’s affordable housing supply. It’s great to be a part of this dynamic collaboration and we are looking forward to working together.”

Image via AHDC

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Local nonprofit Casa Chirilagua is planning to keep with the spirit of Thanksgiving by distributing meals to those in need, but needs some public help for setup and distribution.

“We are distributing 500 meals for Thanksgiving on Wednesday, Nov. 25,” said the organization, which provides assistance in the Chirilagua and Arlandria neighborhood. “The setup will begin at 1:30 p.m. and the distribution will begin at 2:00 p.m.”

Casa Chirilagua needs volunteers to help

  • Setup tables
  • Organizing the boxes
  • Helping manage the line
  • Make sure people are remaining socially distanced,
  • Handing out boxes
  • Taking tickets
  • Handing out masks
  • Cleanup

The organization asked that those who volunteer make sure they have not been exposed to COVID-19 before they volunteer, that they haven’t experienced any symptoms of respiratory illness within the last 14 days, and that they don’t live with someone who is considered at risk.

Volunteers can sign up through the Volunteer Alexandria website.

Staff photo by James Cullum

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The 45th Annual Turkey Trot and Food Drive for ALIVE! started virtually on Saturday, and the nonprofit has set up food collection points all over the city through November 29.

“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.

Photo via Visit Del Ray/Facebook

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Nonprofits Hearts of Enpowerment and The Oasis Alliance has helped to makeover the homes for some local survivors of trauma and for Alexandria-based recovery program Friends of Guest House — an Alexandria reentry program for women leaving prison.

“Hearts of Empowerment contributed its fundraising capacity to raise over $4,500, supply furniture and building materials, as well as provide discounts at local hardware stores,” the organization said in a press release. “The group promoted the program to shelters and community centers to help identify individuals and families that could benefit from the service.”

The organizations help makeover two homes in addition to Friends of Guest House.

“As a result, not only were two women with young children selected for space makeovers, but Alexandria-based Friends of Guest House, which helps women transition back into the community after incarceration, also received a facility makeover,”

Teams worked on a new reading room, computer area, kitchen and living room while women in the facility were out on a field trip to surprise them when they returned. The Oasis Alliance also offered time with a therapist for residents of the program.

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