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2 COMMUNITY GUIDE • SEPTEMBER 2020
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Here to Help I
nsideNoVa’s annual community guide for Prince William County has in the past years focused on a number of topics of general interest. We’ve taken a deep dive into products and services “made” in Prince William, introduced you to local movers and shakers, highlighted things you should know about the county from “A” to “Z,” and, last year, featured some of the neighborhoods that make up our community. When it came time to identify a topic for this year’s section, the decision was easy. There’s no doubt that 2020 is a year none of us will soon forget -- even though we might like to. But one thing that is truly amazing about this country and this community is that when times get tough, people are always willing to step up. As we’ve covered the COVID-19 pandemic in print and online over the past 6½ months, we’ve reported on some of the many efforts by individuals, organizations and businesses to help those who have been affected. And, yet, every time we turn around it seems as though we learn about someone else doing good. And, so, we present “Here to Help,” the 2020 Prince William Community Guide. This is not meant to be all-inclusive but rather simply to spotlight some more of the fine people, businesses, and organizations who have stepped up not just over the past six months but -- in one case -- for the past six decades. In these pages, you’ll meet Meg Carroll and learn about her advocacy for the Georgetown South community in Manassas. You’ll visit Sharita Rouse’s candy apple stand, where she sometimes gives away more food than she sells. You’ll read about food distribution efforts led by nonprofits such as ACTS and the Prince William County Community Foundation. And along the way we’ve included some information about how you, too, can help. We’d also like to thank the local businesses that have supported this section by advertising in it - and encourage you to support them. Local businesses are the lifeblood of our community, and now, more than ever, they need your support. Finally, we thank you, our readers. Our goals are to inform you about your community, to connect you with your community, and to inspire you to better your community. That’s how we help, we hope, in some small way. How can you help? -- Bruce Potter, Publisher email@example.com
TABLE OF CONTENTS Lillian Orlich: Six decades in education...... ................Page 4 Civil Air Patrol cadets help deliver food .....................Page 5 Pibbles4HOPE: Helping homeless with pets ..............Page 6 Meg Carroll: The voice of Georgetown South.............Page 7 HomeAid completes 150th project in region .............Page 8 ACTS’ food app comes to the rescue ................. Pages 10-11 The C.H.O.W. Wagon delivers ...................................Pages 12 Tackett’s Mill businesses learn how to adapt .......... Page 13 Sharita Rouse: More than candy apples .................. Page 14 From sanitizer to free rides: Businesses pivot ........ Page 16 Bar Association supports health-care workers ....... Page 17 Meet the leaders of the Salvation Army .................. Page 18 Novant ensures staﬀ members’ needs are met ...... Page 19
SEPTEMBER 2020 • COMMUNITY GUIDE • 3
Your PWPL Digital Library
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Audiobooks, e-books, music, movies, and more: all available on your devices, all free with your PWPL library card. pwcgov.org/digitallibrary
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4340 Dale Blvd., Dale City, VA 703-670-2139
13418 Dumfries Rd., Manassas, VA 703-791-7855 Lillian Orlich worked as a teacher and counselor for six decades in Prince William County.
THANK YOU For Keeping It Local
Manassas resident logged six decades in school system EMILY SIDES
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anassas resident Lillian Orlich she was torn between being a teacher and a counselor in Prince William County Public Schools, where she began her six-decade long career in the 1950s. At one point, she worked as both teacher and counselor until her principal told her she had to choose between the two. “A teacher is always a counselor also,” said Orlich, 92. “I like the one-on-one [time]; that’s why I entered counseling, because each of us has different needs and wants. Even when I talked to a group [of students], each person is different.” The New York City native taught American history and helped start Advanced Placement courses for students. Orlich finished her career as a counselor before she retired from Osbourn Park High School in 2017, according to the division. “It’s a wonderful thing, both teaching and counseling,” she said. “Because there is never a dull day, and I mean to say never. There is always excitement as a teacher.” As a former counselor, Orlich said she feels a sense of victory after seeing many of her students grow up and pursue their own lives. “I’m very proud of something he or she wanted to do,” she said about her former students. “It’s great to see a person set a goal, reach a goal and that was a plus for me.” Mid-way through her career, Orlich was an assistant principal in New Jersey for three years. “I enjoyed it, but not as much as teaching and counseling,” she said. “I wanted to be more involved in counseling.” As long as she can remember, Orlich wanted to be a teacher. She fondly recalled playing a teacher as a child and directing her little sister to be her first pupil. “My mom knew I’d be a teacher,” Orlich said. “She said you’d been a teacher from the day you were born.” Orlich said she loves Virginia, including its proximity to Washington and New York. “It’s a historical place,” she said. “I loved every minute of it.”
Civil Air Patrol supports food distribution effort
he Civil Air Patrol’s Virginia Wing was tasked recently to support Prince William County’s distribution of necessary resources at the request of the county and Meals on Wheels. As part of a growing connection with Prince William’s COVID-response efforts, three senior members and nine cadets assisted Manassas Senior Center staff and Prince William Parks and Recreation in the transfer of food supplies to prepare for distribution to the public. The team helped to unload and store packages for more than 1,500 meals in Woodbridge. Additional support is expected as part of growing relations with county support systems throughout Virginia and as relief efforts continue in food distribution centers, according to a news release. The Virginia Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, with 22 squadrons spread throughout the state, has about 2,000 members, 12 light aircraft, 29 multipurpose vehicles and two cargo vans. These assets are available to federal, state and county governments, emergency responders and law enforcement agencies to perform search and rescue, homeland security, disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and counter-drug missions. For more on the Civil Air Patrol, visit https://www.facebook.com/VAWGCAP.
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Schedule website. • Your Personalon Buyer Agent Bob Hummer www.military-realestate.com email@example.com | www.military-realestate.com 888-453-1836 toll free Johnson was asked to foster two pit Associate Broker • Reduced Closing Costs • FreeClosing Home Buyer Analysis nent of the group is education -- about Selling? Attend acclaimed Monthly Free Home Seller Associate Broker www.bobhummer.com • Reduced Costs • Suite Free HomeBob’s Buyer Analysis firstname.lastname@example.org Marblestone Dr,220 103 • Comprehensive Reference Material • 12731 FreePond Credit Report Lifetime top producer bull puppies, a pair ofonbrothers in hor4500 Way, Suite vaccinations, spaying and neutering and Seminar. Schedule website. Woodbridge, VA 22192Material • Free Credit Report •Book Comprehensive Reference Lifetime topinpVAroducer Real Estate Search Engine Subscription • Free Listingwww.military-realestate.com Licensed 703-878-HUMM (4866) Woodbridge, VA 22192 rible shape -emaciated, O: 703-763-1950 microchipping. • Your Personal Buyer Agent www.bobhummer.com • Free Pond Way, Suite 220Listing Book Real Estate Search Engine Subscription 888-453-1836 toll free(4866)Selling?4500Attend 703-878-HUMM suff ering severe mange Pibbles4HOPE became Monthly Free Home Seller Woodbridge,•Bob’s VAYour 22192acclaimed email@example.com Personal Buyer Agent Seminar. Schedule on website. and sick with Parvo. Th e a 501(c)3 charity in 2018 www.military-realestate.com 4500 Pond Way, Suite 220 toll free puppies had beenHome found Seller www.bobhummer.com and operates solely on Selling? Attend Bob’s acclaimed Monthly Free Woodbridge, VA 22192 firstname.lastname@example.org in a Dumpster in Richdonations. Every dolSeminar. Schedule on website. 4500 Pond Way, Suite 220 mond, left for dead. www.military-realestate.com lar, Johnson says, goes Woodbridge, VA 22192 She named them www.bobhummer.com directly toward care of Itchy and Scratchy and the animals. prepared to bring home a Today, the group supcouple of puppies in need 4500 Pond Way, Suite 220 ports about 14 animals in of major medical care Woodbridge, VA 22192 Prince William County’s and love. But Itchy didn’t homeless camps, with make it. He died at Dale the help of about a dozen To volunteer or donate to PibbleCity Animal Hospital bevolunteers. s4HOPE, visit pibbles4hope.org fore Johnson got to bring Johnson hosts outreach him home. programs several times Scratchy survived, went a year, offering pet supplies to those in home with Johnson and never left. need. She said she has seen a huge in“He’s my heart,” Johnson said. crease in those needing help, with more Itchy and Scratchy inspired the Dale than 200 people coming out for the last City resident to launch Pibbles4HOPE, a outreach this spring. nonprofit with a mission to help homeThe next outreach is scheduled for Oct. less and low-income pet owners in 18 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 2500 Caton Northern Virginia. Hill Road in Woodbridge. Johnson plans Volunteering with a rescue, Johnto double the amount of supplies she son saw a need in the area’s homeless brings this time and is always looking camps for help taking care of pets. for monetary donations and supplies like Pibbles4HOPE provides nutritious food, food and blankets as well as volunteer blankets, pet beds, leashes, collars, harhelp. nesses, toys, pet clothes, veterinary care As for Scratchy, today the big, gray and other critical needs to keep pets of “velvet hippo” is an ambassador for his the homeless happy and healthy. breed, a comfort and help to all the foster Johnson believes everyone deserves the love of a pet, no matter their position animals Johnson brings home and best friends with Johnson's other gray pit bull, in life. Touchie. “Just because someone may live in “They’re why I do this,” she said. a mansion or be homeless, it doesn’t “Because what we do to these animals as indicate how much love they deserve or where it should come from,” she said. humans it’s sickening.”
6 COMMUNITY GUIDE • SEPTEMBER 2020
Benefits of Attending
‘Mother-in-Chief’ Meg Carroll fights for her Georgetown South neighborhood JARED FORETEK
n most days, it’s not diﬃcult to find Meg Carroll. The retired police oﬃcer is more often than not at the Georgetown South Community Center -- organizing, building, helping the area’s families. Carroll runs the neighborhood’s homeowners association, the Georgetown South Community Council. But she may as well be the neighborhood’s unoﬃcial cheerleader, going to bat for the immigrant-heavy, largely Spanishspeaking neighborhood before the City Council or doing what she can to help the area’s working families navigate the pandemic’s economic crisis, virtual schooling and a disease that has disproportionately impacted them. When the city’s public school division first announced that it would be starting the year with online-only education, Carroll quickly sprung into action. The community council has organized school supply drives for years, but now students and parents would need much more. She helped to coordinate supervision for some students whose parents can’t work from home, she directed others
to the division’s resources for setting up in-home wifi, and she helped to organize physically distanced tutoring at the community center, recognizing quickly that the neighborhood’s students -- many the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves whose parents speak limited English -- would suffer the most from losing in-person instruction. “I don’t want to put this all on the schools,” Carroll said of the effort to prepare families for the change. “I want the community to be a part of its own solution.” Weeks later, she was working on something far more mundane. Residents of the neighborhood have long complained about parking problems, so she delivered a presentation in front of the City Council suggesting potential solutions. Fluent in both English and Spanish, she often serves as a go-between for Georgetown South’s Spanish-speakers and the city’s bureaucracy, whether it be city hall or the police department. She also, at times, can be a thorn in that bureaucracy’s side, pushing the institutions that serve the area to develop more Spanish literacy themselves. “[She’s] both our mother-in-chief because she cares so much; she’s our
Meg Carroll runs the Georgetown South Community Council and serves as an unoﬃcial liaison between the neighborhood’s largely immigrant community and the city. JARED FORETEK | INSIDENOVA
disciplinarian because she keeps the community investing in itself,” said Tom Osina, the treasurer of the community council and a City Council candidate. “And she is an incredible, knowledgeable person about everyone in the community because she knows so many people on a first-name basis.” On a recent Thursday afternoon, she
was standing outside the center, watching a group of kids play soccer on the small adjacent field. Calling the kids out by name, she said she’s hoping to get a fullsize field built down the line. Another group of kids made their way over to her; it was 3:30, time to get ice cream. “They’re much better here,” she said, “than out there.”
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‘An Amazing Gift’ HomeAid completes 150th project in Northern Virginia
omeAid Northern Virginia completed its 150th project building and upgrading emergency shelters and supportive housing facilities for those experiencing homelessness earlier in September. Together, these 150 projects, including 30 in Prince William County, have allowed 167,000 of Northern Virginia’s most vulnerable residents – from families experiencing homelessness to victims of domestic abuse to runaway teens – to have a stable place to live. HomeAid Northern Virginia has invested more than $18 million into housing options across Northern Virginia communities, including $6.2 million in Prince William. Projects have included building a new home for pregnant teens, updating the kitchens and bathrooms of supportive housing properties, expanding local food pantries and installing upgraded security at domestic violence shelters. The group’s milestone 150th project was the recently completed renovation of the Winchester Rescue Mission, where Dan Ryan Homes and three construction trade partners replaced flooring, repainted, and expanded storage of the 1930s building – and donated nearly 100% of the $70,000 renovation cost. HomeAid’s Prince William projects have benefited 10 nonprofits providing housing and support services, including: • ACTS Women’s Empowerment Center (six projects) • BARN Community Housing (three projects) • Catholic Charities (two projects)
8 COMMUNITY GUIDE • SEPTEMBER 2020
HomeAid Northern Virginia’s projects in Prince William County included a 2018 renovation of 12 apartments in Woodbridge operated by Catholic Charities’ St. Margaret of Cortona Transitional Residences. The homes are for families coming out of local shelters. This project included furnishing the apartments. PROVIDED
• Good Shepherd Housing Foundation (three projects) • Northern Virginia Family Services (10 projects) • Youth for Tomorrow (two projects) At Youth for Tomorrow’s campus in Bristow, the projects included a home for girls. “HomeAid and its network of trade partners have provided an amazing gift to the children and students in our care,” said Dr. Gary Jones, CEO of Youth for Tomorrow. “This was not just a construction project, it was a home building project in the truest sense of the word – providing a safe, stable
and secure place for girls coming out of hardship to grow and rebuild. This home will help nurture the spirits of hundreds and hundreds of girls here at Youth for Tomorrow over the years ahead.” The charitable arm of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, HomeAid Northern Virginia builds and renovates programmatic spaces of nonprofits directly serving those affected by homelessness. The organization mobilizes donated expertise, labor and resources of homebuilders and suppliers, manufacturers, electricians, plumbers, landscapers and other partners.
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Want to Volunteer? There’s an app for that!
ACTS’ Food Rescue Heroes collect, deliver donated food as community need increases EMILY SIDES
SERVICES PROVIDED BY ACTS » Senior Link: Elderly residents can sign up to
umfries-based nonprofit Action in Community Through Service launched its app, Prince William Food Rescue, in August 2019 to ask residents to volunteer by driving and delivering donated items on a one-time or weekly basis. Equipped with an app that includes a map and provides directions, users, known as “Food Rescue Heroes,” can look at available pick-up locations and a time frame before claiming the food rescue. Rescues take about 45 minutes to complete from start to finish, so they offer a flexible way to volunteer. In the first year of the program, volunteers completed over 6,000 food rescues, said Aaron Tolson, Prince William Food Rescue’s program director. Rescuers collected, redistributed or delivered over 3 million pounds of food, worth over $5.2 million. The program is now averaging about 300 food rescues a week, Tolson said,
receive regular check-in calls. Call (703) 368-4141.
» Free food home delivery: If you have a physical disability or are 70 years or older, call (703) 441-8606, extension 288.
ACTS is processing over 360,000 pounds of food per week through its Prince William Food Rescue program. PROVIDED
with over 360,000 pounds of food being processed. That includes over 6,000 boxes of produce, 480 cases of milk and
3,000 boxes of nonperishable food. Prince William Volunteer, a local organization, helps organize volunteers for
ACTS, Tolson said. ACTS’ app was downloaded about 1,000 times before March with about 700 profiles created and 200 active users, Tolson said. Since the pandemic began, the app has now been downloaded a total of 2,000 times, with 1,600 profiles and 500 active food rescue heroes. “A lot of people are looking for ways to help out the community,” Tolson said. “Because we distribute food with no contact, it provided a way to get out of the house.” Because of impacts from the pandemic, ACTS has seen a dramatic increase in people who are in need of food and ACTS
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10 COMMUNITY GUIDE • SEPTEMBER 2020
Marty Nohe, president of Appliance Connection and a former member of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, is among ACTS’ volunteer “Food Rescue Heroes.” PROVIDED ACTS
FROM PAGE 1
expects that to continue, he added. “So the need is definitely there.” Before the pandemic, the Food Rescue Heroes would pick up food from community partners such as a grocery store and take it to ACTS or another nonprofit.
In March, ACTS adapted its app to also allow users to pick up and drop off food for people who are disabled or 70 years or older. Since April, food rescue heroes have made 760 direct deliveries to people who are disabled or elderly, Tolson said. ACTS, which has served the commu-
nity for 50 years, provides food to those in need through its Hunger Resource Center and also provides housing assistance, including temporary shelter and help finding permanent housing. The nonprofit also provides financial assistance with utility bills to those in need and offers shelter, counseling, court
Users who download the Prince William Food Rescue app receive alerts when donors have food available to be picked up. PROVIDED
advocacy and other services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. It also has a thrift store that helps bring in money to the nonprofit and a helpline. Each year, ACTS assists about 80,000 people. “We are always looking for more food rescue heroes,” Tolson said.
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Free Food Fridays
Prince William County Supervisor Margaret Franklin of the Woodbridge District, helps the Prince William County Community Foundation during its Feed the Troops campaign at the Woodbridge VRE Station on Aug. 29. The C.H.O.W. Wagon is actually a distinctive orange-and-yellow van with a brightly painted logo. PAUL LARA | FOR INSIDENOVA
C.H.O.W. Wagon delivers thousands of meals
EMILY SIDES email@example.com
n the summer of 2019, a new nonprofit couldn’t be missed in its bright orange and yellow van. The C.H.O.W. Wagon distributed 9,000 breakfast and lunch meals to students in Prince William County. CHOW stands for “Combating Hunger on Wheels.” When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March, Vanessa Gattis, president of Prince William County Community Foundation, which operates the C.H.O.W. Wagon, started providing free food. The C.H.O.W. Wagon’s 40 volunteers adapted by providing drive-through and contactless food distribution and have delivered 34,000 meals since March,
she said. “The need has increased, definitely,” Gattis added. Earlier in the year, the wagon ran twice a week. Currently, the wagon is providing free meals on Fridays, Gattis said. “We provide enough food for a family of four for the weekend,” she said. Gattis started the foundation last year to focus on food insecurity during the summer, when students don’t have five days a week of free or reduced lunch served at schools. According to the Virginia Department of Education, 39,258 students, or more than 42% of 91,724 students in Prince William public schools, qualified in the 2019-2010 school year.
HOW TO HELP To donate financially to PWCC Foundation, visit PWCCFoundation.networkforgood.com.
After learning about the need in the community, Gattis wanted to give back. “That's how we came up with our child initiative, combating hunger on wheels initiative,” she said. Gattis has lived in the county since 2011 and retired from the military in 2018. “When I was contemplating retiring, I was trying to think of what else I wanted to do once I retired,” she said. “I wanted to continue to serve, but my heart was to serve in our community.” Since the nonprofit began, it has distributed food, such as produce, meat,
juice, macaroni and cheese snacks and more, to about 4,500 children and families, Gattis said. “When kids don't eat nutritious meals, it can affect them not only education but health-wise,” Gattis said. “So we want to focus on the total health of the child, so we try to make sure we give them a balanced meal when we do distribute our meals.” The foundation has partnered with the school division and also with the ACTS nonprofit in Dumfries and its Prince William Food Rescue initiative and Northern Virginia Family Services in Manassas. “We’ve had a number of people and organizations who have been so faithfully dedicated to come out and support us in this effort,” Gattis said.
Ambassadors of Prince William County Community Foundation load food into a car during Operation Feed the Troops at the Woodbridge VRE, Aug. 29. PAUL LARA | FOR INSIDENOVA
12 COMMUNITY GUIDE • SEPTEMBER 2020
Standing the Test of Time
One Tackett’s Mill business, the Bee Store, improved its online presence and offered contactless pickup and home delivery. PROVIDED
Tackett’s Mill businesses had to overcome obstacles
a challenge for many -- especially their senior clients. With classes broadcast on Zoom, clients could feel connected ackett’s Mill shopping center in despite the distance. the Lake Ridge area of Prince Now that things are slowly returning William County has managed to to normal, AIM Human Performance stand the test of time, like the more than wants to keep the momentum going, 400-year-old-mill after which it’s named. offering live-streamed classes on social Over the years, the shopping center media and developing a platform dedievolved from its humble beginnings to cated to on-demand fitness. a thriving community, built by the supOne thing they’ve learned through all port of its residents, with more than 50 of this: “The importance of being flexible merchants rangand adapting to ing from specialty what’s going. [As retailers to service well as] the creativproviders. Earlier ity that comes from this year, the chalbeing experts for lenge of how to our clients,” the reach customers Viggianos said. during the health Edgemoor Art crisis created a Studio, a central new obstacle for part of the commerchants. munity that offers The Bee Store fine arts classes to not only thought students ranging outside the box, its from children to AIM Human Performance owners Chris and owners recreated it. Michelle Viggiano developed online classes for young adults, did their clients during stay-at-home orders. “To make your not allow the crisis PROVIDED products and to shut down its services available to more people online students' creativity. is critical in times like this…making our During the first weeks of the staywebsite more user-friendly was vital,” at-home orders, the dedicated team of said John Klapperich, Owner of The Bee teachers delivered 120 art kits to stuStore. dents’ homes and kept parents engaged Using social media for marketing through email. Using Facebook, the stuand improving its web presence, The dio formed a social group for students to Bee Store moved its in-person classes to keep them connected and sharing ideas, virtual, providing an on-demand interac- even artwork. tive experience for customers looking to A virtual art exhibition using video learn a new skill or hobby while at home. submitted by parents gave students an With the increase in demand for their opportunity to show off their art sculptures, a project started before the shutservices, they invested in local vendors and offered contactless pickup and home down. After safely reopening early this summer, the art studio continues to keep delivery. safety a top priority with cleaning and For AIM Human Performance, virtual sanitizing practices, distance-learning classes were the solution to keeping the stations, and more virtual classes during business and clients healthy. Offering the week. one-on-one training at home, owners “With community, a bit of innovation, Chris and Michelle Viggiano built an engaged community through their online and foresight you can get it done,” said training studio. They focused on improv- Ruth Johnsen, owner and founder of the studio. ing flexibility when being mobile was
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More than Candy Apples
Sharita Rouse has been offering up free meals from her candy apple stand since the early days of the pandemic.
JARED FORETEK | INSIDENOVA
Manassas shop owner plans to keep helping long after COVID-19 JARED FORETEK
or most, there isn’t much more to Sharita Rouse’s Old Town candy apple stand than meets the eye: an old-school shop window serving up old-school treats. But for others, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crash it caused, it’s something of a lifeline. Rouse estimates that she feeds about 250 individuals and families a week, giving free meals to whoever needs one from Tuesday to Friday, as long as she isn’t out. A group of rotating volunteers help her prepare hot food, and at times she’s had assistance from other Manassas restaurants. But the whole operation depends on her, and what she can put together for those in need from day to day. In recent weeks, she says she’s seen the number of people coming by for free meals increase. “There are families that are depending on me,” Rouse says. “Some people, if they see my truck out back, they’re right here in front [of the store].” Some days, according to Rouse, the demand for hot meals outpaces business for her sweet desserts. And lately she’s had trouble keeping up, so she turns to
14 COMMUNITY GUIDE • SEPTEMBER 2020
“I don’t care if you’re a child or a less fortunate adult. If you come to the window and ask for something to eat, you’ll be able to get it.” — SHARITA ROUSE simple, high-volume dishes like big pots of pasta. “I’m hoping it gets me through a couple of days, but no,” she said. Rouse has had the shop since 2016, when she moved to Manassas from North Carolina. She’s long offered free hot meals for those in need on weekdays but says she’s never seen so many people asking. She even has a list of people who can’t make it to the store and volun-
teers who will deliver meals to them. When the economy largely shut down in March and April, she said she was fielding more calls than ever from people asking to be put on a delivery list. “Sometimes it’s just an older couple; the husband is working and the wife is laid off and they have a child. Well, I’m going to feed everybody,” Rouse said. “I don’t care if you’re a child or a less fortunate adult. If you come to the window and ask for something to eat, you’ll be able to get it.” Business, Rouse says, hasn’t taken too much of a hit since March; paying customers are still showing up to her window for the apples, and she’s even branched out to cakes and other baked goods to help bankroll the free meals. A Christian, Rouse attributes much of her drive to help others to her faith. She hopes that once the pandemic is over and more people have returned to work, she’ll have fewer people to feed. But she says that she’ll still give out what she can. There were hungry people before the pandemic and there will be hungry people long after. “It’s just, trusting in God every day,” Rouse says. “... It’s OK, just as long as I’m here to help somebody, I’m good.”
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SEPTEMBER 2020 • COMMUNITY GUIDE • 15
Businesses pivot in pandemic, offer help and hope KARI PUGH
OVID-19 restrictions brought the local economy to a screeching halt earlier this year, but local businesses found ways to help their employees and communities. TURNING JUNK TO TREASURE
Mark Harrington started Junkluggers of Gainesville last year with a mission to enhance lives, the community and the environment by donating, recycling and supporting local charities. Partnering with House of Mercy, Junkluggers hosted a May donation drive at the over-55 Heritage Hunt community aimed at collecting goods residents were busy cleaning out during the COVID-19 quarantine. The team collected five truckloads of gently used clothing and small electronics. The collected goods helped the House of Mercy continue to offer food, clothing, education and prayer to those in need in western Prince William County. The nonprofit works with an average of 350 families per month through its food pantry and thrift store to help with basic needs.
The Junkluggers of Gainesville collected toss-offs from quarantine closet clean-outs in Heritage Hunt to help the House of Mercy.
KO Distilling in Manassas has added high-proof hand sanitizer to its offerings since the pandemic.
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While commuter travel ground to a halt as stay-at-home orders went into effect earlier this year, OmniRide kept the buses running. In March, the transit service began operating local and Metro Express buses fare-free, with the aim of reducing interactions between the driver and riders at the fare box. Although ridership plummeted by 95% for commuter bus routes and over 70% for local bus routes during the height of the pandemic, OmniRide kept buses running to make sure essential employees were able to get to work and the public could get to critical destinations like grocery stores, pharmacies and hospitals. The gamble is paying off. Once Virginia started advancing into Phases 2 and 3 of its reopening plan, OmniRide saw more people riding buses again. The company also instituted stringent cleaning of bus interiors daily, focusing on common areas such as handrails, arm rests, seat backs, and the bus operator’s compartment. Local buses were also pulled of their-routes at mid-day to be sanitized before being put back into service. HOLD THE LIQUOR
Like toilet paper, hand sanitizer was in short supply earlier this year. At two Prince William County distilleries, production switched -- from liquor to high-proof hand sanitizer. At KO Distilling in Manassas, barrels of Bare Knuckle hand sanitizer are still
for sale, at $99 for five gallons. Since the start of the pandemic, KO has donated more than $20,000 worth of the sanitizer to those in need, caregivers and first responders. At MurLarkey Distilled Spirits in Bristow, soon after the team switched from whiskey production to sanitizer, the business was flooded with requests from fire and rescue departments and county and state governments asking to help fill the shortage for hand sanitizers for their workers. The company made hundreds of gallons of high-proof sanitizer -- first for
16 COMMUNITY GUIDE • SEPTEMBER 2020
Prince William and Fairfax counties and their first responder and medical units and then for individuals. SENIOR LIVING IN QUARANTINE
Harmony at Spring Hill assisted living in Lorton was already focused on combating the dangers of loneliness and isolation among residents, but staff has worked extra hard since the COVID-19 pandemic ended in-person family visits. According to a report by the National Institute on Aging, research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart
disease, obesity, weakened immunity, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline and even death, Harmony says. Conversely, people who engage in meaningful, productive activities with others tend to live longer, are happier, and have a sense of purpose. These activities help maintain well-being and improve cognitive function. Harmony is offering small group activities, drive-by parade celebrations and front porch chats at a social distance, along with fun activities like socially distanced parties, crafts and even a little imbibing on “Wine Wednesdays.”
‘Fueling the Frontline’ Bar association, restaurants partner to feed health-care workers
he Prince William County Bar Association has partnered with Novant Health UVA Health Systems to launch a new initiative called “Fueling the Frontline.” The program provides meals to healthcare workers at Novant’s Prince William Medical Center in Manassas, and the meals are purchased from local restaurants who have suffered economic challenges due to pandemic-mandated business closings. “We have all been looking for ways to support our local healthcare heroes and local businesses hit hard by the pandemic,” said Tracey Lennox, president of the bar association. “This program gives members of our local bar association a great way to do that.” In July, bar association members supported donation of the first dinner for the entire shift of about 50 healthcare workers in the emergency room and critical care units of the hospital. Elizabeth Rodemsky, manager of volunteer services for Novant, said workers were stunned when the meals were delivered. “The support of the community means everything to them.” Zandra’s Taqueria prepared the first dinner at a discount, and the association said it hoped to continue the effort in the fall. Bar association members Azadeh Malkek and Mark Branca developed and administer the program.
Devon Richardson, assistant nurse manager, and Michael Anderson, emergency services technician, were working the evening shift at Novant’s Prince William Medical Center when the first meal was delivered in July. PROVIDED
Extension helps farmers get food to the table
irginia Cooperative Extension agents have long supported the agriculture community by helping producers address whatever issues arise. Now the organization is continuing that history of helping by creating innovative solutions and digital tools designed to help farmers adapt to the unique agricultural challenges created by COVID-19. Those issues range from disruptions to their normal markets, labor force, and overall business plan, and the extension is helping by facilitating new connections, providing online tools, and offering online education. “Farmers who had contracts with restaurants, schools, or universities have had to shift their focus from those institutional market channels to direct-to-consumer sales with online software, drive-through and curbside service, and modified community-supported agriculture models,” said Eric Bendfeldt, Extension specialist and associate director for the Center for Food Systems and Community Transformation. “Virginia food banks and pantries are also reporting a large increase in participation and increasing demand for fresh produce and shelfstable meat sources.” Extension is working to facilitate coordination among Virginia farmers and help them adapt to new or changing markets. Extension is also helping farmers by offering numerous webinar series, covering such topics as farm management during COVID-19, money management, purchasing, yield rates, and more. A recent webinar covered production strategies, such as optimizing cattle given low market prices. There are minimal costs associated with maintaining a herd – essentially postponing the sale.
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‘Soap, Soup and Salvation’ New leadership team in place at Prince William Corps INSIDENOVA STAFF
he new leadership team of the Salvation Army’s Prince William Corps started work this summer in the midst of the pandemic. “We have set our goals to feed those in need during this COVID-19 crisis” Major Kelly Durant said. The organization’s new majors, Kelly and Regina Durant, began serving in Prince William in July, ready to help everyone in the community “without discrimination,” as the Salvation Army’s mission statement indicates. “We want people that come to our oﬃce and church to feel dignity, and find they are supported to plan for a better future,” Kelly Durant said. The Salvation Army is known for its red kettles at Christmas-time, and to InsideNoVa readers for the annual Christmas Basket fundraiser in these pages, but the organization provides services to the community year round. “Some people forget that we’re busy all year long, not just during the holiday season, helping others. All year long people come, and they have come even more the past months with all the unemployment, so the need is four times greater and the donations are never enough to help everyone,” Kelly Durant said. The Salvation Army of Prince William is open during oﬃce hours 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. by appointment. On Sundays, they are open at 11 a.m. with a limit of 25 people due to pandemic restrictions. Kelly Durant was born in Oklahoma and Regina Durant in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. They married in Bolivia in 1978 and have five children. Kelly Durant first studied at the University of Oklahoma in 1975 and later at Trevecca Nazarene University in Tennessee, continuing studies in theology. Kelly and Regina Durant’s oldest son was born deaf, and consequently they enjoy working with deaf people because they are fluent in American Sign Language. Also, Kelly Durant is certified in Critical Incident Stress Management, the oﬃcial counseling method practiced by those who serve others in crisis disaster situations. From 1977 to 1990 the Durants dedicated most of their time to missionary service and evangelism, traveling throughout South America and working with different Christian churches. They were in Bolivia for seven years, Colombia for four years, Brazil for a year and a half, Chile for one year, and Venezuela for six months. In addition, Kelly Durant taught guitar and English as a Second Language, and performed and sang often
The Durants were commissioned as sergeants of the Atlanta Hispanic Corps (International) of the Salvation Army in 2001. Their position included serving as pastors, evangelists, counselors, social service workers and disaster coordinators in national emergencies. They also directed fundraising donations during the Red Kettle campaigns. In 2004 Regina Durant left her flight attendant job at Delta, and the Durants entered the College for Salvation Army Oﬃcers for more advanced training and education. They were commissioned as captains in The Salvation Army in Atlanta in 2005. Regina Durant, who increased her rank to major this year, organizes many Major Kelly Durant and his wife, Regina, began serving the Prince William County Corps of the Salvation events with women Army this summer. PROVIDED in the community, facilitating education for children and mothers. Kelly Durant directs Bible MORE INFORMATION studies, composes sermons, teaches music and guitar, » The Prince William Corps of the Salvation Army is located at 1483 Old and administers all local Salvation Army activities and Bridge Road, Suite 102, in Woodbridge. events in the community. » Telephone: (703) 580-8991 In July, the Durants were transferred to Prince Wil» Website: liam from Winchester. Before that, they served eight https://salvationarmynca.org/princewilliam/ years in Hialeah, Fla., where they attended to the needs of that immigrant community. The Durants are lovers with his family in institutions. They visited the homes of of all cultures, are fluent in Spanish and Portuguese as orphan children, hospitals and retirement communities well as American Sign Language, and enjoy being able to encourage, pray and share their faith. to support and serve everyone in the community. From 1990 to 1994 the Durants served in Miami and “A long time ago, and even now during this current formed Bible study groups, and they then served viccrisis, our mission continues to be soap, soup and salvatims of the Hurricane Andrew disaster for over a year. tion,” Kelly Durant said. “We want to help a person get They moved to Atlanta in 1994, and in 1996 Regina cleaned up, feel good about themselves, and then they Durant became certified to work as an international are able to have the confidence they need to go out and flight attendant for Delta Airlines. succeed in life.”
Salvation Army’s holiday campaign will start early
or the first time in 130 years, The Salvation Army is starting its annual holiday fundraising campaign early across the country. The organization said the money it raises through its iconic red kettles are at risk this year due to COVID-19 while requests for services are at an all-time high. Based on the increase in services already provided in response to the pandemic, the organization said it could serve up to 155% more people in 2020
with Christmas assistance, including putting food on the table, paying bills, providing shelter and helping place gifts under the tree – assuming the resources are available. That would include over 1,200 families in Prince William County. At the same time, due to the closing of retail stores, consumers carrying less cash and coins, and the decline in foot traﬃc, The Salvation Army could see up to a 50% decrease in funds raised nationally through the red kettles. Last year $126 million was raised nationally
18 COMMUNITY GUIDE • SEPTEMBER 2020
through about 30,000 red kettles. The Prince William community raised $82,000 last year but will strive for $100,000 this year. Majors Kelly and Regina Durant of the Prince William Corps aﬃrm that requests for food boxes and social service help have increased by two to threefold the past six months. “We are able to help about one in five of all those that call and we urgently need more support for those who remain unemployed,” Kelly Durant said.
Opportunities to support the Salvation Army’s efforts this year include: • Donating digitally with Apple Pay or Google Pay at any red kettle in Virginia. • Asking Amazon Alexa to donate by saying, “Alexa, donate to The Salvation Army,” then specifying the amount. • Giving any amount by texting “KETTLES” to 91999. • Adopting additional Angels to give hope and joy to kids and families in need through The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program.
Taking care of the caretakers Novant ensures staﬀ has help when needed KARI PUGH
hroughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Novant Health UVA Health System, with hospitals in Manassas and Haymarket, made its main focus taking care of team members so they can take care of patients. “We’ve provided hotel accommodations, counseling, spiritual care, educational resources for well-being and resiliency and more than $300,000 in crisis funding to help team members with rent, groceries and other necessities,” said Michelle Strider, Novant’s chief quality oﬃcer. The company also set up the “Novant Health UVA Health System Cares for You” program, which connects team members who test positive for COVID-19 with resources, support groups and a comfort delivery to their home, including a meal for the team member and their household. “As we’ve entered the back-to-school season, we’ve provided childcare resources, funding and flexible work arrangements so team members can balance obligations at work and home,” Strider said. The company has also increased regular team member town halls over the past six months to encourage two-way dialogue and ensure that team members’ needs are being met. “We’ve also recognized their heroism with celebrations during Nurses Week and Hospital Week this spring,” Strider said. She said Novant is “incredibly proud of how this pandemic has brought out the best in our team and shown how they truly embody Novant Health UVA Health System’s mission to improve the health of our communities one person at a time.” There have been many small acts of kindness for patients, such as when an environmental technician ran to a convenience store to buy some requested magazines or when the food services team celebrated moms on Mother’s Day. Team members have also shown their flexibility and resilience by going where they’re needed most across the health system. For example, one physician liaison helped one of the sickest patients by setting up video chats with their family members and friends.
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Team members also rallied around Ron Kunihiro, a 78-year-old Haymarket resident who was admitted to Prince William Medical Center on March 20. Ron was intubated in an intensive care unit for more than 40 days. “During that time, his care team was truly remarkable, according to Ron and his family members. When he was finally discharged on April 30, team members from across the hospital gathered to wish him well. There were lots of cheers and happy tears shed that day,” Strider said.
Novant nurses and Spanish-speaking team members have volunteered at more than a dozen community COVID-19 testing events to date, along with providing educational resources, masks, hand sanitizer and more than 7,000 pounds of food across the health system’s footprint. “We have instituted many changes across our facilities and clinics to ensure safe, quality care for our patients. We are here to serve our communities in good times, tough times and for all time,” Strider said.
Michelle Strider is chief quality oﬃcer for Novant Health UVA Health System, which has hospitals in Manassas and Haymarket. PROVIDED
The Heart of Lake Ridge
Enjoy your favorite restaurants and retailers at Tackett's Mill. FEATURING: The Bee Store Edgemoore Art Studio Lake Ridge Florist Revive Nail & Spa Statements The Salon Tackett’s Mill Barber & Men’s Spa Woodbridge Academy of Dance
Located at the corner of Old Bridge Road and Harbor Drive in Lake Ridge.
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