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In two weeks, Arlington County Police Department will hold its second-ever Fill the Cruiser Food Drive to support the Arlington Food Assistance Center.

The first Fill the Cruiser food drive kicked off last summer in response to the growing number of people struggling to put food on the table during the pandemic. That effort yielded 6,509 pounds of donated food. The next is now planned for Tuesday, May 18.

“We saw firsthand the growing need for food assistance and recognize this need remains high due to the ongoing economic impacts of the pandemic,” ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage said. “Through generous community donations, we can assist the Arlington Food Assistance Center as they continue their mission of feeding our neighbors in need by providing dignified access to nutritious supplemental groceries.” 

Outside of the food drive, officers have also assisted community organizations with bagging and distributing grocery items, Savage said.

AFAC has seen a significant increase in the number of families it serves — a 33% increase in the first few months of the pandemic, according to the organization’s website. Amid the surge in need, however, the nonprofit has reported fewer donations from grocery stores and leaner volunteer ranks.

More on the Fill the Cruiser food drive from ACPD:

The Community Resources Section will be collecting items at drive-thru donation stations on Tuesday, May 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at three locations:

  • Giant Food – 2901 S. Glebe Road
  • Safeway – 3713 Lee Highway
  • Westover Baptist Church – 1125 Patrick Henry Drive

Upon arrival, donors should stay in their car until they reach the unloading areas, where officers will be on hand to remove donations from their vehicle. A separate area will be available for those arriving by bike or foot. All donors are expected to observe proper social distancing guidelines and wear a face covering while dropping off donations.

Suggested Items for Donation

AFAC accepts most unopened, unexpired, and unprepared foods, including perishable items. AFAC is most in need of the following low sodium, low fat and low sugar items:

  • Low sodium canned tomatoes
  • Low sodium canned tuna
  • Low sodium canned soups
  • Canned vegetables
  • Peanut butter (in plastic jars)
  • Low sugar cereal

Those wishing to donate, but unable to attend the Fill the Cruiser events should visit AFAC’s website to find a donation drop-off site near them.

Photo via Arlington County Police Department

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Our Arlington Agenda post is back for the first time since the pandemic started.

As a reminder: Arlington Agenda is a listing of interesting events for the week ahead in Arlington County. If you’d like your event considered, fill out the event submission form to submit it to our event calendar.

Monday, May 3

Patterns at Gallery Underground
Shops at Crystal City, 2100 Crystal Drive
Time:

Gallery Underground in May presents in the Focus Gallery, Patterns: an all-member show of works highlighting pattern and texture. Media used in the display include oil, acrylic, pastel, water media, sculpture, glass, ceramics, wood and metalwork.

Tuesday, May 4

Protecting What You Build: Intellectual Property as the Entrepreneur’s Core Asset
Virtually via Zoom
Time: Noon-2 p.m.

This free session hosted by the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at GMU Law School will guide attendees through types of intellectual property and how experienced entrepreneurs rely on them to implement their visions.

Wednesday, May 5

Legislative Update for Landlords in NOVA*
Virtually via Zoom
Time: 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

This webinar will review all Virginia laws going into effect on July 1, 2021, ensuring landlords understand new laws and know they are operating within the law — particularly regarding the legalization of marijuana.

Thursday, May 6

Lunch with a Librarian: Virtual Book Buzz
Virtually via Zoom
Time: Noon-12:30 p.m.

Drop in our monthly 30-minute book buzz with local librarians, with library staff and the public swapping book recommendations.

Friday, May 7

Second Anniversary Fundraising Event
Troy’s Italian Kitchen (2710 Washington Blvd)
Time: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Troy’s Italian Kitchen is celebrating its two-year anniversary with a fundraiser to give back to the community. A portion of proceeds on Friday will go to the Arlington Food Assistance Center and the Lyon Park Community Center.

5K Fridays: The Great Inflatable Race
Courtyard Green (2121 Crystal Drive)
Time: 6-7 p.m.

Pacers and the National Landing BID’s annual 5K series returns this Friday with a wacky summer inflatable attire theme. Registration is limited to 250 participants, so make prospective runners should sign-up in advance.

*Denotes featured (sponsored) event.

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Arlington Tech students are raising money to send supplies to a Liberian school founded by their math teacher.

Earlier this month, a GoFundMe page was created by students in the Arlington Career Center’s National Honor Society to help their peers at Giddings Polytechnic Academy in Kakata, Liberia.

The school was founded by Arlington Tech math teacher Isaac Zawolo and just opened this past year.

The goal is to raise $10,000 which will go towards resources like laptops, iPads, textbooks, toiletries, and basic school supplies. As of today (Friday), they’ve raised $1,559.

“Stuff like eyeglasses, instructional materials, books, and even clothing and menstrual products,” says 17-year-old Arlington Tech junior Abigail Herrada, one of the students leading the effort. “A lot of times when women meet the menstrual age, they just drop out of school because they don’t have access to those things.”

The idea came to the students upon hearing about Zawolo’s work building the schools in his home country.

Zawolo immigrated to the United States from the western African country of Liberia in 1998 and spent several years teaching in Prince George’s County before coming to Arlington. He’s been a teacher in the county since 2004 and with Arlington Tech from the high school program’s 2016 inception.

Five years ago, while celebrating his 30th teaching anniversary, he had an epiphany about needing to help his native land. He started assisting schools in Liberia with resources, uniforms, and tuition, but wanted to do more.

“I just thought about the idea of doing my own thing and actually creating the school to provide quality education,” Zawolo says. “It could provide a general high school education but also some technical classes.”

His first school opened last year in Liberia’s capital city of Monrovia and, this past January, he opened a second school in his hometown of Kakata, located about 40 miles east of Monrovia.

The focus is to help students prepare for college and gain career-oriented skills through classes focused on electrical engineering, computer science, medicine, journalism, agriculture, and other disciplines.

His efforts in Liberia were brought to Arlington Public Schools’ attention by Zawolo’s colleagues, who saw a post about it on Facebook. He says he never intended it to become the subject of a student-led fundraiser.

Zawolo would sometimes mention his experiences in Liberia in class, Herrada says, and it really inspired her.

“I could see his real focus and his commitment to these schools and how having a passion for education can really [lead] to so many great things,” says Herrada.

Herrada herself is keenly interested in education — particularly, women’s education — noting that she has had the privilege of traveling overseas and seeing schools in other parts of the world.

“I’ve seen how underprivileged some of these schools are. In Arlington, everyone has a MacBook or iPad. There’s a drastic difference,” says Herrada.

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Morning Notes

Vote By Mail in June Primary — From Arlington’s elections office: “More than 3,900 mail ballots for the June 8 Democratic Primary are on their way.. Deadline to request a mail ballot: May 28 @ 5 p.m.” [Twitter]

Restaurants Cited For Covid Violations — “Twenty-nine Arlington restaurants were cited for violating Gov. Ralph Northam’s COVID-19 restrictions between Jan. 1 and April 4 of this year, according to data obtained exclusively by Patch from Arlington County Public Health.” [Patch]

Auction of Art Institute’s Equipment in Rosslyn — “Former Art Institute of Washington… has closed and will make a complete liquidation of super high end kitchen, catering and food service equipment including 1,000s of small wares, appliances, and high-end kitchen equipment… [plus] all technology, educational equipment, furnishings, A/V, business equipment and supply.” [Rasmus Auctions, Rasmus Auctions]

Local GOP Holding Online Meeting This Month — “The chairman of the Arlington County Republican Committee is anticipating face-to-face gatherings in coming months, but for now is sticking with an online format. ‘I am looking forward to holding in-person meetings again in the very near future,’ GOP chair Andrew Loposser said in an April 21 e-mail to the party rank-and-file. The e-mail noted that the monthly meeting set for April 28 would be held online via Zoom.” [Sun Gazette]

Arlington Native Named Head Basketball Coach — “Loyola women’s basketball has named Danielle O’Banion the program’s 12th head coach. The Arlington, Virginia native who played at Boston College, most recently was an assistant at Minnesota. She takes over for Joe Logan, the program’s all-time winningest coach who was relieved of his duties after the 2020-21 season. The Greyhounds finished 0-13.” [Fox 45]

Fundraiser for Murder Victim’s Family — “The family of Hernan Leiva, who was killed in a parking lot in the Skyline area of Bailey’s Crossroads April 17, launched a GoFundMe site to raise funds to help with funeral costs. Leiva, age 58, worked at the Target in Skyline. He was attacked by a coworker when he arrived at work early Saturday morning.” [Annandale Blog]

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Arlington’s Ellie McGinn and her family recently raised nearly half a million dollars to fund research into Ellie’s rare degenerative brain and spinal cord disease.

Ellie, 12, has lived with LBSL (leukoencephalopathy with brain stem and spinal cord involvement and lactate elevation) for the last 10 years. It affects fewer than 100 people worldwide and currently has no cure. Her family has been actively fundraising for a cure since 2013.

This year’s all-virtual efforts in honor of Rare Disease Day on Feb. 28 drew a total of $400,000 in donations from around the world. Last Wednesday, the McGinn family awarded the money to the Moser Center at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, which is currently developing and testing new drug therapies that could lead to a cure for LBSL.

“We know they want to find answers as badly as we do,” said Ellie’s mother, Beth, about the team at the Moser Center. “We are just so incredibly grateful to have this brilliant team of researchers working toward a cure for Ellie and others like her.”

Her parents, Beth and Mike, have raised nearly $2 million for LBSL research through their family foundation, A Cure for Ellie.

The McGinn family took its annual 5K through Fairlington online this year, and leaned into other online fundraising opportunities, including a Giving Tuesday campaign and social media outreach. Ellie and her sister Vivian even ran a Facebook live fundraiser in which they poked fun of their parents — throwing eggs at them or forcing them to eat hot peppers — when certain fundraising goals were reached.

“It was great fun and the audience stayed engaged,” Beth said.

But the family yearns for a return to in-person activities and is awaiting news on Ellie’s disease.

“We miss parties, and we miss the annual Fairlington 5K and Silent Auction,” her parents said in a Facebook post. “We miss all of you.”

Sometime this month, the family will receive a formal update on the ongoing research, the post said.

“We haven’t had one since last fall when the team was able to go back into the lab and safely resume work,” the parents wrote. “We are told there is good news and bad news. Not sure what that will mean for Ellie and the other families like us but we know that even in failure the scientists are learning.”

Since her diagnosis, Ellie launched a social media campaign to rename the illness “The Awesome Disease.” She and her family were awarded the National Organization for Rare Disorders’ “Rare Impact Award” and appeared on “The Today Show.”

The A Cure for Ellie Foundation will continue to fundraise and spread awareness for the “Awesome Disease” to help find a cure. Upcoming events, more information on Ellie and LBSL, and how to donate can found on the foundation’s website.

Photos via Vimeo

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Morning Notes

Love Notes in Rosslyn — “In honor of Valentine’s Day, we created Rosslyn Love, a community-wide free activity where anyone in the DMV could submit a message to be displayed across four temporary murals outside of 1550 Wilson Boulevard in Rosslyn. Whether it was for a partner, a friend, coworker, family member, healthcare professional or even just a favorite spot around the neighborhood, we received over 400 messages of love and gratitude.” [Rosslyn BID]

Dems Keep Focus on Equity — “The Arlington County Democratic Committee in early March is expected to make its ad-hoc Inclusion and Equity Committee a permanent standing committee. The goal, deputy party chair Maggie Davis said, was to ‘do better including more people that look like the population of Arlington’ in Democratic Party activities.” [InsideNova]

Local GOP Surveying Members — “The Arlington County Republican Committee is in the midst of surveying its membership in hopes of making the party and its meetings more relevant to the rank-and-file and broader community. ‘Dozens of Arlington Republicans have already taken the time to complete this survey, and their responses are thoughtful and thorough,’ said Matthew Hurtt, the Arlington GOP’s communications director.” [InsideNova]

Police Investigate Sexual Battery in Arlington Mill — “The victim was walking in the area when she noticed the male suspect walking behind her. The suspect approached the victim, grabbed her waist and thrusted himself against her multiple times while making sexual comments. The victim continued walking and, as she approached her residence, the suspect re-approached her and brushed his hands against her breast. The victim was able to enter her residential building and close the door, preventing the suspect from following her inside.” [ACPD]

Air Force Vet Still Standing Up to Cancer — “‘Pat’ Malone, a seven-year cancer survivor, and 20-year Air Force veteran will ‘stand up to cancer’ for 24-hours straight, during his Seventh Annual Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) 24-Hour Fundraiser, beginning at 4:26 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10, and ending at 4:26 p.m. on Thursday, February 11, 2021, at Fire Works American Pizzeria & Bar, 2350 Clarendon Blvd.” [The Zebra]

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Morning Notes

More Issues With Vaccination Effort — “Hoagland’s struggle to register for a vaccination started when he did not get a confirmation email back from Arlington County’s Health Department after adding his name to a virtual waitlist. After he got in touch with a representative who was able to confirm his spot in line, Hoagland learned that the county’s system is not able to push confirmation emails to anyone with a Verizon or AOL email account.” [WTOP]

Limited Vaccine Doses Available — “In a conference call with reporters on Saturday afternoon, the Virginia’s vaccine coordinator Dr. Danny Avula said after the current stockpile of over 900,000 first-round doses is exhausted, further doses may be slow coming. Avula said the commonwealth has been told by federal administrators that at least until sometime in March, there will be no more than 110,000 new first-round doses available per week for Virginians.” [WTOP, WRIC]

Teacher Vaccination Kicks Off — From County Board member Katie Cristol: “A great image from @Matt4Arlington, as 900 @APSVirginia educators get their first dose today – with 900 more to follow Monday. We are ready to replicate this scale daily for frontline workers and our community members & will keep fighting for as many doses as the state can send.” [Twitter, Twitter]

Car Crashes into Condo Complex — “A car crashed through a brick wall and into the side of the Barkley Condominiums along Columbia Pike today. No word on injuries.” [Twitter]

Injury at Powhatan Skate Park — From the Arlington County Fire Department: “Earlier today we safely removed a patient during a minor technical rescue incident at Powhatan Skate Park. The patient had minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital in stable condition.” [Twitter]

Fundraising Effort Collects $120K — “More than $120,000 was raised in December to fulfill all of the year-end wishes of 24 Arlington-serving nonprofit organizations, part of an effort sponsored by the Arlington Community Foundation.” [InsideNova]

TAPS Tapped for Inaugural Events — “The Biden Inaugural Committee has announced participants in the virtual ‘Parade Across America’ for Inauguration Day. Two D.C.-area groups have been picked to take part in the parade, including the Tragedy Assistance Program For Survivors, or TAPS, in Arlington, Virginia.” [WTOP]

Reminders: COVID Event, Wednesday Closures — Today at 5:30 p.m., as part of a national event “honoring the lives we have lost to COVID-19,” Arlington is encouraging churches to ring their bells, businesses to light their buildings, and residents to put a lighted candle in a window. Tomorrow, due to Inauguration Day, county government offices and services are closed, and parking enforcement will not be enforced. [ARLnow, Arlington County]

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Arlington County police are investigating a series of overnight break-ins at the Arlington Forest Shopping Center.

Thieves smashed windows and forced their way in to three businesses, stealing cash. Another business was reportedly damaged but the thieves — or thief — did not get in.

“At approximately 7:33 a.m. on January 7, police were dispatched to the late report of a breaking and entering in the 4800 block of 1st Street N.,” Arlington County Police Department spokeswoman Ashley Savage tells ARLnow. “Upon arrival, it was determined that unknown suspect(s) forced entry to three businesses, causing damage. The suspect(s) rummaged through items and stole an undisclosed amount of cash. Police remain on scene investigating.”

ARLnow has received numerous tips about the break-ins from outraged neighbors.

“The cleaners, Bricks Pizza, and Thai place had their front doors smashed and interiors ransacked,” said one. “Sense of Place’s door was damaged but not destroyed.”

“Significant damage to already struggling local businesses thanks to Covid,” said another neighbor. “The neighborhood is devastated and want answers.”

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the business owners and, as of about 10:30 a.m., has already raised more than $2,500.

“This is just garbage — hurting literal mom and pop businesses who are so good to us and our community,” the organizer of the campaign said in an email to ARLnow. “The Bricks guy gives my dog water in the summer. The cleaners are the kindest most hardworking people. The coffee shop is a treasure. Crystal Thai has been my favorite Thai food for almost 30 years.”

“All three businesses will need new doors to get up and operating again ASAP,” the GoFundMe page says. “The total amount donated will be split equally between the cleaners’, Bricks, and Crystal Thai. Please give if you can.”

Photos courtesy Stephen Trickey

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(Updated at 1:30 p.m.) The Arlington County Council of PTAs is collecting money through Friday to buy fresh produce for families in need, with help from a local farmers market operator.

Through the initiative — part of the council’s pandemic relief efforts — the CCPTA is partnering with FRESHFARM Markets to provide fresh food to about 900 families who have been receiving food through seven PTA and school-based distribution sites. Fundraising will go until Dec. 4, with an extra push today (Dec. 1) for Giving Tuesday.

The food will be given out at the regular distribution times during the week of Monday, Dec. 14. So far, the council is more than halfway toward its goal: $11,851 of $20,000 has been raised as of publication time.

“We must ensure that children and their families do not go hungry,” said Emily Vincent, the CCPTA President in a statement. “Addressing food insecurity is essential to both well-being and education, as it is difficult for children to learn when they are hungry.”

Families have been able to access food, school and cleaning supplies, baby items and masks at the distribution sites since the spring, Vincent said. During the summer, these sites served approximately 2,500 families.

The work supplements the meal distributions organized by Arlington Public Schools.

“Our volunteer efforts are committed to serving their school communities and they are hopeful for a more sustainable and robust support system coordinated by Arlington County in the new year,” Vincent said.

The drive also supports local farmers, who have struggled to profit from their produce this year due to the pandemic.

In addition to running farmers markets in the D.C. area, FRESHFARM distributes local produce to small institutions such as daycares, which often lack the money and bulk needed to buy from larger distributors.

The arm of the nonprofit responsible for this program, Pop Up Food Hub, will purchase the food for the CCPTA fundraiser. A $22 donation to this food drive covers a week’s worth of produce for a family of four.

“While families have been grateful for the various types of food assistance that are available in the neighborhood, many have requested assistance with obtaining fresh food beyond the non-perishable pantry food products and single serve meals,” the donation page said.

Many food drives focus on packaged goods because they last and can be bought cheaply, said Sebastian Muenchrath, an operations manager for Pop Up Food Hub. But that pushes fresh fruits and vegetables to the side for hungry people who need a balanced diet, too.

The bags will rely on long-lasting winter staples such as squash, onions, apples and potatoes, with some leafy greens, although they are scarcer these days.

The CCPTA has “been great at understanding what the local supply looks like right now,” he said.

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The Arlington Historical Society is raising $50,000 for a feasibility study to renovate its home at the Hume School (1805 S. Arlington Ridge Road).

What is now the Arlington Historical Museum was originally constructed in 1891, and is the oldest schoolhouse in Arlington. The school was turned over to AHS in the 1960s, and now needs renovations.

“The end result will be the creation of something sorely lacking in our Arlington County — an updated first-class museum reflecting our history, our accomplishments and the lives of those who have lived here,” said AHS member Frank O’Leary in an email. “If we do not start now, then when?”

O’Leary is also a trustee of the Warren G. Stambaugh Foundation, which is planning a virtual AHS fundraising event honoring Stambaugh, a former member of the House of Delegates who wrote the Virginians With Disabilities Act. The foundation will match funds raised for the AHS renovation project at the “I Remember Warren” event.

O’Leary said the AHS renovation will take a number of years to accomplish. Donations can be made on the AHS website.

“Our immediate objective is to raise $50,000 to fund the feasibility study of the existing structure, its deficiencies, and necessary improvements, and specific steps that must be undertaken to create a state-of-the-art local museum,” O’Leary said. “In short, as an immediate objective, we seek to create a detailed plan or ‘blueprint’ and then AHS will proceed on its enactment.”

The AHS to-do list includes:

  • New drop-down ceilings on all floors, or the restoration of the original ceiling
  • New windows
  • New paint
  • Climate-controlled storage for artifacts
  • Americans with Disabilities Act access to the second floor
  • Second floor display area
  • Basement renovation for improved storage
  • New exhibit cases
  • Security upgrades
  • New interpretive signs

Photo via Arlington Historical Society/Facebook

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Even COVID-19 could not stop an opportunity for adorable pet photos around the holidays.

During two weekends in November, local pet owners can get family portraits ready for seasons-greetings cards with the holiday edition of Porch Portraits, a pandemic-proof fundraiser by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

“Have a holiday pajama party, bring out your favorite party looks, deck your pet in their holiday gear, any holiday fun you’d like to capture,” the announcement from AWLA said.

The organization has hosted holiday “Pet Pawtrait” sessions before, but this year will look different: The event will span three days and will be socially distanced. Sessions will take about 10 minutes, with a minimum donation of $100, and participants will receive at least three professional digital images within 10 days.

As holidays approach and the pandemic continues, AWLA is focused on supporting the community as people cope with job losses, including via its pet pantry and veterinary support, AWLA Events Coordinator Hollie Dickman said.

“We never want food or resources to stand in the way of people keeping their pet,” she said. “We want to keep pets with the people who love them as much as we can, especially during holidays and COVID-19.”

Sessions are open for Nov. 14, 21 and 22 and participants must be residents of Arlington or Alexandria. Registration for sessions on Nov. 14 end Sunday, while registration for the weekend of Nov. 21-22 ends next Sunday, Nov. 15.

Participants select the date, but AWLA will coordinate times so photographers can do back-to-back sessions in the same neighborhood. Times may range from 8 to 11 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

Those who want to notify AWLA of times that do not work for them are asked to contact Dickman at [email protected]

Participants must have a porch in front of their house or an outdoor area, such as a park, in front of their condo or apartment complex where pictures can be taken.

All portraits will be taken from a 6-foot distance with no direct contact between the photographer and the household, the announcement said.

Local photographers Mike Leonard, Jeremy Robin and Erinn Shirley will be taking the portraits.

This is the second socially-distant porch portrait session AWLA has run to raise funds this year. The first occurred in May, two months into mandated restrictions due to COVID-19.

Leonard had been doing porch portraits during the pandemic and asked to donate his services to AWLA as a fundraiser, Dickman said. The impromptu fundraiser generated $3,000 from 25 participating families.

“I thought that was a great success,” she said. “We are anticipating a similar turnout, we hope to see that $3,000 raised again.”

Family portraits courtesy of Hollie Dickman. Christmas dog (top) via AWLA/Facebook.

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