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Quincy Hall (Staff photo by Savannah Taffe)

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just for the Irish at one local watering hole.

On Saturday, Quincy Hall at 4001 Fairfax Drive will hold its first “St. Paw-trick’s Day” adoption event with Arlington-based nonprofit Lucky Dog Animal Rescue and some adoptable furry friends from 3-5 p.m.

“We have so many neighbors with pups walking by and sitting on our patio that an adoption event with Lucky Dog Rescue was something that we thought would unite our community in support of their noble cause,” said Will Carter, general manager of Quincy Hall.

The pizzeria and beer hall plans to support the cause by donating $1 to the nonprofit for every beer pitcher and spiked shamrock shake sold. The hall will also sell pizza and a wide variety of beer from 40 different taps.

The Ballston-area restaurant invites guests to come out with their little tail-waggers to enjoy the festivities on the patio and get some holiday attire for their pups.

While this is the first time Quincy Hall has hosted a dog adoption event, Carter told ARLnow that he hopes it will not be the last. He is looking to make the adoption event an annual tradition, joining other themed nights the venue has hosted, including a country night and an adult-friendly Easter egg hunt.

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(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Arlington County is home to one of the busiest Goodwill donation centers in the country and this location, on S. Glebe Road, is now being teed up for redevelopment.

Last week, Planning Commission members recommended the Arlington County Board approve plans from Goodwill and affordable housing partner AHC to redevelop its storefront with a 6-story building consisting of a new retail and donation center, 128 units of affordable housing and space for a child care center.

The Board is set to review the proposal — which includes requests to rezone the property and label it a “revitalization area,” a designation intended to boost AHC’s application for low-income housing tax credits — on Saturday.

Still, some criticism over pedestrian safety for elderly residents and children tempered that enthusiasm, as did questions to affordable housing partner AHC Inc. about its ability to manage an affordable community following livability issues residents and advocates revealed at the Serrano Apartments on Columbia Pike.

“There’s just so much to love about this project,” said Planning Commissioner Leo Sarli. “We cannot have enough housing… childcare or upcycling — which is what Goodwill does — which again, keeps things out of landfill and has a massive environmental impact.”

Despite all this, he had lingering pedestrian safety concerns around the site entrance, given all the foot and vehicular traffic that apartments, retail and childcare are expected to generate. This led him to propose that the Planning Commission recommend the County Board defer its approval until Goodwill addresses them. While other commissioners likewise stressed their pedestrian safety concerns, his motion failed 9-1, with one abstention.

They later supported a resolution from Vice-Chair (and Arlington County Board candidate) Tenley Peterson to recommend county staff continue to work with the applicant to design streets around the building that use “pedestrian-forward design practices.”

“We don’t want to let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” she said. “This project offers so much value to the community.”

Land use attorney Andrew Painter said the proposal actually improves pedestrian safety by separating donor, resident and retail traffic, reducing surface parking from 54 spaces to four accessible ones and closing one of two existing site entrances.

Goodwill site circulation (via Arlington County)

County staffer Kevin Lam, meanwhile, assured Planning Commissioner members that transportation staff thoroughly reviewed the proposal and do not believe the site poses a significant safety issue, though it is a “conflict point between pedestrians and vehicles.”

Like Peterson, the Transportation Commission approved the project, though several had pedestrian safety concerns. Chair Chris Slatt said commissioners hope these are addressed post-approval and commended Goodwill for transportation upgrades it has committed to, including one-way parking access, fewer surface parking spaces and a wider, raised sidewalk across the driveway.

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Arlington Free Clinic on Columbia Pike (staff photo by James Jarvis)

Nearly a dozen Arlington nonprofits surveyed by ARLnow reported meeting or exceeding their fundraising goals for Giving Tuesday this year.

But there’s a catch.

Several nonprofit leaders have expressed concerns about rising costs and a decrease in donor participation potentially impacting their ability to meet increasing demands for assistance across the county.

“Inflation is our greatest challenge as it is raising our expenses faster than our income is coming in,” the director of the strategic partnerships at PathForward, Liz Norah, told ARLnow in an email. “The cost of goods and inflation have caused many families to make difficult decisions regarding their charitable giving, and we have seen the impact of this.”

On Giving Tuesday — the Tuesday after Thanksgiving — PathForward, which provides housing support for homeless individuals and families, raised about $8,000, says Norah.

While that is comparable to last year, she underscored that the organization is still uncertain corporate and individual support will match previous years.

“We are still seeking [corporate] partnerships for 2024, so it’s a bit early to say if this is going to impact us,” Norah said.

PathForward’s experience mirrors national trends. During Giving Tuesday, the United States saw a modest 0.6% increase in donations from last year, totaling approximately $3 billion, according to data from the global philanthropy organization GivingTuesday.

The data also shows a 10% drop in participating adults, from around 38 million in 2022 to 34 million.

Arlington Free Clinic Executive Director Nancy White said there is no denying that nonprofit fundraising is down.

She argued, however, that nonprofits are also comparing their 2023 fundraising figures to the higher-than-normal amounts raised during the pandemic.

“I think that everybody’s seeing some of the impact because people were so generous, particularly toward safety-net nonprofits, during the pandemic and really reached deep to be able to support us,” White said. “So relative to that, a lot of nonprofits are seeing a decrease.”

This decline in donor participation comes at a particularly challenging time, when Arlington nonprofits are experiencing a growing demand for their services.

Linley Beckbridge, director of Communications and Advocacy at Doorways, which provides shelter to survivors of domestic violence, says the number of adults and children they have checked into the shelter has doubled within the last five years.

“Domestic violence is on the rise,” Beckbridge said. “As Arlington’s only provider of safe housing — emergency shelter for survivors and their children in imminent danger due to domestic violence — it is critical that Doorways expands our capacity to meet the growing need.”

During this year’s Giving Tuesday, Doorways raised about $4,000, primarily from Arlington supporters. Beckbridge says this is consistent with last year but not enough amid inflation.

“As the need for our services escalates, and the cost to provide those services rises, we will need more support from our community in this pivotal time of year,” she said.

Costs are rising not only for nonprofits but also for families, driving more households to lean on assistance. Within Northern Virginia, South Arlington, for instance, has one of the highest concentrations of families who cannot afford basic needs and childcare.

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Giving Machines in Kensington, Maryland (courtesy of Daniel Laender)

Ballston Quarter is introducing some new vending machines with a benevolent twist.

From the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 24 through New Year’s Day, visitors to the mall at 4238 Wilson Blvd can find what are called “#LighttheWorld Giving Machines,” near the Macy’s.

Unlike typical vending machines, these are designed to dispense aid to charity.

Customers select a charity, add the donation to a virtual cart, and then complete the transaction using a debit or credit card. In lieu of snacks or drinks, a card symbolizing the donation falls into a collection bin.

Launched in 2017 by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Giving Machines “have raised more than $22 million in donations for local and global charities,” according to a press release.

This year, patrons can choose to donate to one of several local or global charities, including American Red Cross, CARE, EcoAction Arlington, Volunteers of America, Willing Warriors and the Young Doctors Project.

With 52 locations across the globe, this is the second time the machines have been located in the D.C. area, per the release. Last year, the D.C. area machines were located in Kensington, Maryland.

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2014 Canstruction sculpture by HGA Architects and Engineers and Balfour Beatty Construction at Reagan Washington National Airport (via Arlington Food Assistance Center/Facebook)

This evening, local architecture firms will go can-to-can in a competition to build elaborate sculptures made from canned goods.

The “Canstruction” event takes place at Fashion Centre at Pentagon City. The creations built tonight will be judged on Saturday, though shoppers can also vote for their favorite canned art sculptures through Monday.

The structures will be on display through next Sunday, when the cans will be donated to the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC).

Fashion Centre and the American Institute of Architects Northern Virginia Chapter are putting on the event, which is one of many around the world affiliated with the hunger relief charity Canstruction. Participants are responsible for buying the canned goods, designing the structures and donating what is collected to a local food bank, according to the nonprofit’s website.

For AFAC CEO Charles Meng, events like these are a fun way for people to support the nonprofit, which gets nearly half of its food through donations.

“Food donations make up 40% of the food we distribute,” Charles Meng, CEO of AFAC, told ARLnow. “The 30,000 pounds from Canstruction will go a very long way in meeting our goal of 1.5 million pounds and in helping our families.”

“Canstruction is one of the many creative ways that professional societies like the American Institute of Architects and their Northern Virginia Chapter can help address food insecurity and have great fun doing it,” he added.

Shoppers are also encouraged to donate canned goods or cash to AFAC through QR codes at the Canstruction display through Sept. 16.

The competition moved to the mall this year after being held at either Dulles or National airport in recent years.

The winning team will advance to compete on the international stage against victors from other Canstruction events across the globe.

Photo via AFAC/Facebook

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Volunteers serve Arlington Kabob’s packaged meals at Children’s Inn (courtesy Susan Clementi)

Earlier this month, Arlington Kabob cooked up hot dinners for a cause.

About two weeks ago, the restaurant donated 75 individually packaged meals to the Children’s Inn at the National Institutes of Health. The nonprofit provides housing and programming to young people with rare diseases being researched and treated at the NIH campus in Bethesda.

Arlington Kabob owner Susan Clementi says she was approached about a meal donation by longtime customer Gindy Feeser, who regularly serves dinners at the Children’s Inn with her coworkers.

Clementi said she worked with Feeser and her team at General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) in Falls Church to offer a “moment of kindness” to kids living at the hospital, who lack normalcy in their day-to-day lives.

“One of my personal spiritual values is to stay involved and have awareness for my community,” Clementi said. “We at Arlington Kabob are always eager to support any great cause… and partner with [the restaurant’s dedicated customers] to make a small difference.”

Together, for the GDIT team’s June dinner contribution, Clementi provided the kabobs and Feeser provided the service.

“I think most of us know by now how lucky we are to have a gem like Arlington Kabob in our neighborhood,” Feeser said in a recent post that received considerable attention on the social media platform Nextdoor.

She said delivering a car full of kabobs to Bethesda was “a mouth-watering experience.”

“Once delivered, they were gone in minutes,” Feeser said in her post, which garnered nearly 530 reactions. “Bellies and hearts, full.”

Arlington Kabob is located at 5046 Langston Blvd in the Halls Hill/High View Park neighborhood and is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. The restaurant was founded by Clementi a decade ago and, as reported earlier this year, is noted for its partnerships with local schools on various fundraising initiatives.

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When the pandemic hit, Arlington resident Matt White, like many others, could not get a haircut.

He noticed his hair grew quickly and, rather than cut it, he decided to challenge himself and see how long he could grow it out.

“At some point, I realized it could definitely be long enough to donate,” White told ARLnow.

Last Wednesday — almost three years after his last haircut — the 21-year-old went to his mother’s hair salon, Magnus Opus, for a long-anticipated haircut. Hairdresser Clinton Jones tied it into a long, 12-inch ponytail and snipped it off.

White sent his hair to Children With Hair Loss, a nonprofit that donates wigs made with human hair to children and adolescents suffering from medically-related hair loss. Picking the organization was an obvious choice for White because of a family friend who also donated her hair there.

Leading up to the haircut, White said he was excited to see how long his hair had actually grown — four inches longer than the nonprofit’s donation minimum.

Dealing with longer locks, however, had its challenging moments, he admitted.

“The hardest part of the process is when your hair isn’t long enough to go into a ponytail but too long to stay out of your eyes,” White said. “For those with short hair — it can be a challenge, and it can feel quite weird — but you will get used to it pretty quickly.”

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Randolph Elementary School in July 2021 (via Google Maps)

Amazon and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation are standing up a new STEM center at Randolph Elementary School (1306 S. Quincy Street).

“The center will provide new state-of-the-art STEM equipment and furniture for students to learn and play,” a spokeswoman for the Baltimore-based Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation said. “Giving elementary and middle school kids access to STEM learning is a priority of the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.”

There will be a ribbon-cutting event today (Tuesday) at noon during which students can try out the educational activities.

“Students [will] take part in a hands-on learning activity with the Sphero BOLTs, led by Amazon robotics experts to explore the STEM equipment the new center has to offer,” the spokeswoman said. (The Sphero BOLT is a spherical robot with programmable sensors that kids can control with an app.)

Amazon’s second headquarters is under construction just a few miles from the elementary school. Since it announced its HQ2 plans, the tech giant has donated money and facilities to Arlington Public Schools, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

It has awarded grants to individual schools, funded a new STEM lab at Wakefield High School and announced plans to co-locate Arlington Community High School within HQ2.

Meanwhile, the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, founded in 2001. has placed a greater emphasis on STEM education in recent years. Since 2016, it has started 261 operational, turnkey STEM programs in 19 states, the spokeswoman said.

The nonprofit, which honors the legacy of the Baltimore Orioles player and manager — and father of baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. — provides programs and parks for at-risk youth.

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Map showing donated parcel of land in the Donaldson Run area (via Arlington County)

The Arlington County Board voted Saturday to accept a donation of land that will become an addition to the county’s park system.

The parcel that has been offered to the county is 40,024 square feet, subdivided from the lot of a home located near Marymount University and the intersection of 26th Street N. and N. Wakefield Street. The Terborgh parcel, as it is being called, is also located near the 44-acre Zachary Taylor Park and is adjacent to the Donaldson Run Trail.

The parcel was offered to the county by the executor of the estate of Anne Terborgh, who passed away in June 2021. The gift of the parcel to the county was recorded in Terborgh’s last will and testament.

A condition of the transfer of ownership to the county is that the land remain in a natural, undeveloped state, according to a restrictive covenant.

The covenant does allow for upkeep of the land by the county, which would include the control and removal of invasive species. It also allows access to the land by the public and the addition of a park bench or sign that acknowledges the property’s rules and the gift of the land by Terborgh.

The county expects to spend $3,000 on the acquisition of the parcel, including the costs of examination of the title, title insurance, recording fees, and other closing costs. The funds for the closing costs would be allocated from the county’s park land acquisition fund.

It was not immediately clear when or how the parcel will eventually be opened to the public.

Another parcel is slated to be donated to a land trust.

“Because Ms. Terborgh’s will directs one of the other lots in the resubdivision to be conveyed to the Northern Virginia Conservation Trust (NVCT), staff has also communicated with staff from NVCT about the proposed conveyances,” said the staff report to the County Board.

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Pentagon City mall and S. Hayes Street (file photo)

Virginia’s annual back-to-school tax holiday is coming up this weekend and one local shopping center is using the occasion to hold a donation drive.

This year’s statewide sales tax holiday is taking place from Friday through Sunday (Aug. 5-7). Those shopping in Virginia can rack up tax savings on eligible products, including back-to-school clothing and supplies, emergency preparedness items, and certain energy- and water-efficient home appliances and fixtures.

More from the state’s website:

What items are eligible?

Detailed lists of qualifying items and more information for retailers can be found in the Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines.

“During a time of high inflation and gas prices, Virginians will receive some needed tax relief this weekend as they support local businesses across the Commonwealth,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) said this afternoon in a statement. “Lowering the cost of living remains a top priority for my administration as we work together to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family.”

Locals taking advantage of tax-free shopping at the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, meanwhile, are being asked to bring their used denim with them. Denim clothing can be donated at the mall between Aug. 5-14.

“Fashion Centre at Pentagon City encourages shoppers to bring any type of denim apparel items to the Do Good With Denim drive,” mall operator Simon said in a press release. “Shoppers can recycle their used denim at various bins throughout the center. Stations will be located throughout the center for shoppers to custom embroider their denim. Donations will be given to the Salvation Army.”

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Morning Notes

Dog park in Rosslyn (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Arlington Rents Continue to Rise — “Apartment rents in Arlington keep on moving upward, maintaining their position as most expensive in the D.C. area and are now well above pre-pandemic rates, according to new data. With a median rental of $2,063 for a one-bedroom unit and $2,469 for two bedrooms, Arlington’s rental rate grew a whopping 2.8 percent from May to June, the sixth highest increase among the nation’s 100 largest urban areas.” [Sun Gazette]

Local Group Donating Thousands of Socks — “The Nursing Professional Development Council at VHC Health decided to have a ‘Sock Hop’ – not a dance party but a sock collection benefiting ‘Doorways,’ an Arlington non-profit helping people out of homelessness, domestic violence and sexual assault. The goal was set at 1,940 pairs – 1940 was the year the Sock Hop started but the generous nurses and staff at VHC Health tripled that number. It’s the biggest sock donation the group has ever received.” [WJLA]

Dems Resuming Breakfasts — “In another sign that life is getting back to normal(ish) – or at least adopting a ‘live with COVID’ practicality – the Arlington County Democratic Committee is resurrecting its monthly in-person breakfasts. The return engagement – the first since early 2020 – will be held on Saturday, July 9 at 8:30 a.m. at Busboys & Poets in Shirlington. Del. Patrick Hope (D-Arlington) and others will discuss gun issues.” [Sun Gazette]

Cleanup Event Saturday Morning — “WalkArlington & BikeArlington partner to clean up a part of the W&OD Trail on Saturday, July 9. We will make our way down the W&OD, starting near the Barcroft Community Center, setting up our tent on the W&OD Trail at the intersection of a small road named ‘Barcroft Center’ and Four Mile Run Drive. We will pick up trash that accumulates alongside the trail. We will provide trash bags, gloves, trash pickers, drinks and some snacks. We will also have Bike and Walk giveaways.” [WalkArlington]

Metro Seeking Feedback on EFC Project — “Metro is seeking public input on the proposed bus loop expansion and pedestrian improvements at East Falls Church Station.  The station currently has four bus bays that are operating at maximum capacity. In coordination with Metro, Arlington County seeks to expand the footprint of the existing bus loop, upgrade the existing bus shelters, and add three bus bays with shelters at the station.” [WMATA]

Flood Watch This Afternoon — “Multiple rounds of scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms are likely this afternoon and tonight. The most likely time period for thunderstorms producing heavy rain and potential flash flooding is this evening, but thunderstorms could develop as early as this afternoon, and may linger well into the night. Several inches of rain is possible in a short period of time, which would cause rapid rises of water.” [National Weather Service]

It’s Wednesday — Heavy rain starting in the afternoon. High of 86 and low of 78. Sunrise at 5:51 am and sunset at 8:38 pm. [Weather.gov]

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