This is a running list of community efforts to help out during the coronavirus health crisis. Send your good news to Robin Earl, managing editor, at email@example.com.
Cornerstone Baptist Church creates 'respite relief fund' for family caregivers
Cornerstone Baptist Church in Warrenton has created a "respite relief fund" for individuals who provide full-time, in-home care for a loved one who is over the age of 60.
"With the restrictions of social distancing and the financial impact of COVID-19, it may be harder than ever to take time away from your loved one," said an email from Program Director Sara Amos.
Grants made from the fund are meant "to provide the caregiver with short-term opportunities to rest from their role as a caregiver," by paying someone else to provide care for short periods of time while the caregiver participates in "respite activities (i.e. work, running errands, visiting with other family, resting, leisure, medical appointments, or self-care)," according to the church's website.
"The care receiver may be living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, cancer, Parkinson’s Disease or another related disorder that requires full-time care," the website explained.
Information about applying for a grant from the fund, including a full list of edibility requirements, is available here.
Alzheimer's Association National Capital Area Chapter offers free virtual education classes
The Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter is offering free virtual education programs in May to help caregivers and their families. Each virtual education program is approximately one hour and allows the audience to ask questions and engage with others.
The topics for the courses are:
Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body: Tips from the Latest Research;
Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters;
Understanding Alzheimer's and Dementia and
Effective Communications Strategies
Participation in the courses is free; registration is required. More information is at the Alzheimber's Association website.
Falcon Heating and Air Conditioning offer free mask filter, matches gift card purchases
Falcon Heating and Air Conditioning, based in Sterling, is providing MERV 13 filter material to add to cloth face masks free of charge upon request.
According to Falcon's website, "by adding a full-size pocket or ‘kangaroo pouch’ to a cloth face mask, MERV 13 filter material can be inserted into the pouch to provide greater protection." The website also offers tips for making and maintaining masks.
Falcon is also matching gift card purchases - up to $20 - for local hair salons, massage therapists and nail salons.
Customers who purchase a gift card at one of these local business can email a copy of the gift card and the receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org; Falcon will purchase the customer another gift card from the same business. The offer is limited to 250 purchases and ends May 1.
Rixeyville man buys lunches for first responders, truck drivers
On April 11, David Vernon, of Rixeyville, bought sandwiches from local restaurants and distributed them for free to first responders and truck drivers at Quarles Truck Stop in Opal.
Vernon was joined by his wife, Edi, his son Mickey, his daughter, Jena, and Jena's boyfriend Brandon.
"It's just a simple gesture," said Mickey Vernon. "He pretty much came out of pocket to buy lunches for EMS personnel, sheriff [deputies] and other cops and the truck drivers who were coming through."
The Vernons distributed 20 sandwiches from Black Bear Bistro in Warrenton, 20 sandwiches from North Side 29 in New Baltimore, and coupons for free BBQ sandwiches at BBQ Country in Opal.
The leftovers were donated to the Warrenton Fire Department, Sheriff's Office and homeless shelter.
Grace Episcopal Church in Casanova celebrates Easter creatively
While there was no Easter Sunday liturgy at Grace Episcopal Church in Casanova this year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, a Grace parishioner found a creative way for her congregation to be at church, at least in spirit.
Inspired by the example of an Italian priest who taped photographs of parishioners' faces to the pews of his church, the Grace parishioner "collected photographs of Grace Church's small congregation, mounted each on colorful paper, and topped every one with bows of pastel Easter colors," said Dianne Gulick, a fellow parishioner.
Easter lilies and floral arrangements were also set up in and around the church building, Gulick said, adding "parishioners were invited to come singularly and CDC safely to admire Grace's beauty, worship, and leave donations of food and money for it Feed My Sheep program."
Drive-thru food distribution set for April 18
The Fauquier County Food Distribution Coalition will operate a drive-thru food pick-up for anyone in need on Saturday, April 18, 9 a.m., at Warrenton United Methodist Church. The distribution will continue until supplies are gone. FCFDC asks those picking up food to stay in their vehicles; volunteers will bring out food directly to vehicles.
GMU announces online performance arts programming
The Hylton Center and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at George Mason University have launched a new online series called "Mason Arts at Home."
"A collection of live-streamed performances, releases of previously recorded content, and interactive activities" will be released beginning on April 2.
The calendar for the series can be found on the Hylton Center website.
State Fair of Virginia encourages crafters to sew masks for healthcare professionals
The State Fair of Virginia is encouraging those with textile-crafting skills to produce masks for healthcare workers.
“Many of our annual competitors have the skills to create PPE [personal protective equipment], which is in high demand," said a April 2 press release from the organization.
More information, instructions and links to tutorials can be found here on the organization's website.
Virginia-specific resources for the immigrant community
Virginia Coalition for Immigrant Rights has compiled a list of resources in Virginia for the immigrant community. The 20-page document lists national, state and local resources on a wide variety of topics.
LFCC Workforce Solutions to offer free webinar on April 2
Lord Fairfax Community College will offer a free webinar called "5 Ways to Support Employees During this Unprecedented Time" on April 2, 12 p.m.
The half-hour session will address "sources for government guidelines and support during COVID-19, strategies for communicating with your staff, tips on how to maintain productivity from a remote workforce, and more," according to the event website.
The speaker is Jelise Ballon, the corporate training product developer for LFCC's Workforce Solutions.
Click here to go to the event registration page.
Local telehealth firm Online Doctor Today is offering 50 free two-month subscriptions to its…
Local telehealth company offers 50 free subscriptions for Fauquier families
Warrenton-based telehealth firm Online Doctor Today is offering 50 free two-month subscriptions to its telehealth service for Fauquier County residents.
The subscription model offers unlimited monthly access for a household to the MDLive network of physicians. Physicians can, among other things, prescribe medication after consultations conducted through the service.
Oenological Jewel or April Fool?
Available in red, white and rosé, a small tablet can now transform into a delicious glass of wine in just minutes - just add water - if a new press release from local winemaker Chris Pearmund is to be believed.
"Our Chemical Engineers and Master Winemaker have been working in secret in our laboratory to create something very innovative and practical for the wine community," says a new website for Pearmund Wine Fizz.
Click here to see the product for yourself.
Salvation Army provides hard-to-find necessities
The Salvation Army’s food pantry is providing free toilet paper, sanitizer, rice, whole potatoes and much more. Many of these items have been absent from local store shelves, but these items are available while supplies last, for anyone in need.
“It is frightening to run out of necessities like toilet paper,” said commanding officer, Lt. Jared Martin. “Thanks to our donors, now vulnerable families don’t have to go without.”
The Salvation Army pantries provide free food and commodities to clients one on one. This method is especially helpful to those who would like to avoid large crowds. A social worker cleans the client area every hour.
The Culpeper pantry is in The Salvation Army Center for Worship and Service is at 133 E Culpeper St, next to Uncle Elder’s BBQ, and is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Warrenton pantry and store at 62 Waterloo St is open Monday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Anyone who would like to help financially can give online today at VirginiaSalvationArmy.org/VAPiedmont. Those who would like to donate food or commodities may take donations to The Salvation Army Center for Worship and Service or The Salvation Army Family Store in Warrenton.
Lions Club boosts coffers of local food banks
The Warrenton Lions Club recently donated $4,000 to four Fauquier food distribution centers, $1,000 each to Fauquier Community Food Bank, Fauquier FISH, Community Touch and Fauquier County Food Distribution Coalition.
The Lions Club’s Gary Carroll said that the group was motivated by a recent article in the Fauquier Times highlighting an increased need for donations due to the current coronavirus crisis. The Warrenton Lions Club has served Fauquier County since 1939 through its work, especially with children. For example, the Lions provide free hearing and eyesight testing for students at schools throughout the county. Lions have also made donations to local charities.
Along with the recent donations, the Lions sent each organization a note of encouragement and appreciation. The Lions noted that "… we realize that you are overwhelmed providing food to those in need .... Thank you for the tireless work you do to support our community. "
Salvation Army food pantries stocked to help
Salvation Army food pantries in Warrenton and Culpeper are stocked and ready to make sure that no one goes hungry, according to a press release from the Salvation Army.
Offices are at 62 Waterloo Street in Warrenton and at 133 E. Culpeper St. in Culpeper.
Farm Bureau creates COVID-19 informational webpage for farmers
Virginia Farm Bureau Federation has created a new resource on its website to provide farmers with current information relating to COVID-19 and its impact on their livelihoods.
Located at vafb.com/farmerresources, the page includes material related to farmers’ ability to acquire supplies and transport farm products, an update on the ability of foreign laborers to acquire visas through the federal H-2A program, and information on how to contact state and federal agencies that provide agricultural support services.
It also connects visitors with resources from Virginia Cooperative Extension and provides information about U.S. Department of Agriculture farm service centers, including operating hours, closures and answers to frequently asked questions.
For families at home with school-age children, the page provides a link to educational resources created by Virginia Agriculture in the Classroom. Those include virtual farm tours, downloadable activities and a link to the Agriculture in the Classroom Facebook page, where videotaped instruction is offered three times a week.
Online platform provides solution for farmers markets during social distancing
Lulus Local Food, a software platform for farmers and farmers markets to sell produce directly to the public, was launched in 2008 to create convenient online food hubs.
Lulus is a program of the nonprofit Virginia Foundation for Agriculture, Innovation and Rural Sustainability, in partnership with the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation.
The online platform is uniquely designed to connect food to consumers with limited in-person interaction. Farmers can sell to multiple markets and food hubs using one account, and customers can shop from multiple farms on one website with one payment.
Using the software, market managers build a website where farmers can apply to join and list their products. Customers create an account, log in and shop online, buying directly from producers. The market manager promotes the site via social media and arranges distribution locations––tents and parking lots where customers can pick up their orders. No crowds. No stores. No cash or cards changing hands.
Food hubs and farmers markets are responsible for establishing the customer order fulfillment, supplies and logistics. While it takes additional effort, market and food hub managers said it’s worthwhile to continue connecting farms directly to customers.
Staff is available to assist in creating a site. Learn more at luluslocalfood.com.
PATH Volunteer Hub connects volunteers to organizations that need help
Lynn Lauritzen, manager of the PATH Volunteer Hub, wrote to say, “I have heard from many members of our community wishing to help in any way they can. Some of them must find things they can do from home. One way we can connect those from home with our isolated population and those caring for our isolated population, is by means of written letters and cards. It is a way for folks to share wisdom, words of encouragement and even artistic expression.
“I am asking that any facility or organization interested in being on a list of recipients to receive this wonderful gesture of expression to contact me directly at email@example.com.”
She added, “I … welcome any suggestions from any and all on more ways to connect our community of givers with the crucial needs arising from this health crisis.
PATH Volunteer Hub has a designated page for all needs relating to COVID-19. It can be found here. Any organization that could use help from others may contact Lauritzen to discuss options.
Town Duck open and offering curbside pickup
The Town Duck has reopened on Main Street. A press release read: “While this is a far cry from the grand re-opening we imagined, here we are. We remain dedicated to serving our charming community as best we can, which will likely require more creative outreach to bring us to you. We will work diligently to find ways to connect with you at 100 Main Street.
The Town Duck will be available for phone orders at (540) 347-7237 or email (firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com) ) to deliver curbside.
The release said, “The shop is chock full of new items for home and kitchen, garden, baby and stationary… We will gladly help you select a gift over the phone, face time or send photos via text and email. Additionally, we will be launching a new website in the very near future to offer further options for sales, so please be on the lookout for that. Also follow along on our Instagram handle (@townduck) for featured items and new arrivals.”
The release adds, “For now, we will plan to be open for daily curbside delivery 12 to 4 p.m. Phone orders may be received during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. … Upon arrival for pick-up, please call and we can bring order to your car or meet you at the door.”
Sheetz announces temporary raise for workers
Sheetz announced Wednesday that they are instituting a $3 per hour increase for its approximately 17,000 store workers nationwide.
A press release read, “The increase will be active through April 23, but the duration will be re-evaluated as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to rapidly evolve. Sheetz also has more than 1,300 active job openings for anyone who is looking for a job.”
On March 23, Sheetz also announced the following changes to in-store operations:
Self-serve coffee: Self-serve coffee is now suspended. Anyone who would like to purchase a cup of coffee should use the touch-screen order points or ask an employee for assistance who will serve coffee to customers.
Self-service beverages: Sheetz has temporarily suspended all self-service beverages including fountain beverages, fresh brewed tea, frozen drinks and F’Real milkshakes.
Bakery items: Sheetz has temporarily discontinued availability of self-serve bakery items such as doughnuts and muffins.
Meditations by conference call
Gerry Eitner of Communities of Peace, reached out to say, “I'll be doing these Monday evening Lenten meditations by conference call. Those interested may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Online addiction recovery meetings available for those at risk from COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic will be disrupting everyday life in untold ways. For those who depend on Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous gatherings, online meetings are available. The website to find online support is at http://aa-intergroup.org/directory.php.
Diagnostic mammograms still available
Screening mammograms are suspended nationally due to COVID-19, but diagnostic breast imaging studies (mammograms, ultrasound, MRIs) are still available at most imaging facilities in Northern Virginia for those who have symptoms.
The following Northern Virginia facilities are still offering Breast Diagnostic Imaging Services as of March 30:
Hospital Imaging Facilities: Novant - UVA Health System; Fauquier Health; Mary Washington Hospital; Sentara Northern Virginia - (work-ins); Spotsylvania Medical Center; StoneSprings Hospital, and Virginia Hospital Center.
Outpatient Facilities: Fairfax Radiology Consultants; INOVA Outpatient Imaging Facilities; Washington Radiology (work-ins); Alexandria Radiology; Radiology Imaging Associates, and Reston Radiology Consultants.