Business was brisk on Saturday afternoon, as car after car pulled up to a tent on the parking lot of ACCA’s Child Development Center in Annandale. I knew it wasn’t the Starbuck’s drive-thru line, so I stopped (masked and gloved, of course) to see what was going on. Stacks of vegetarian pizzas, each in its own cardboard box, and bags of apples, were arrayed for distribution to families in need. The only differences from a drive-thru were that no speaker box was needed, and no money changed hands. All the food was free for families who needed it.
Real Food for Kids: Chefs Feeding Families is a joint initiative with metro-area restaurants to provide nourishing grab-and-go meals for families affected by school closures and job losses because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Real Food for Kids has served more than 14,000 meals since March 18. At ACCA on Saturday, 400 pizzas and bags of locally grown apples were distributed. Another 200 pizzas were handed out at John Calvin Presbyterian Church on Sunday. You can help support the Annandale meal sites. For a minimum donation of $50, families can order a Pizza Paradiso Pizza Kit to make at home. Each kit contains ingredients for two pizzas you can make at home, and your purchase price feeds four more Fairfax County families. Kits can be picked up at ACCA or John Calvin Church between 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Information about the kits and activities can be found at www.realfoodforkids.org/chefsfeedingfamilies.
Food is a crucial need during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. All area food banks and local food pantries report huge and increasing demands for fresh and non-perishable foods, as the number of families seeking aid increase every week. In normal times, food bank operators can rely on canned goods donations and food drives to help fill their shelves, but the scale of today’s needs requires bulk purchase of food; and that means cash, not cans. Check with your local food bank or faith community to find out how you can help. How we all respond to needs during emergencies is a true measure of a community’s generosity. Whether pizza or produce, your help is needed now.
As cases of Covid-19 continue to increase, folks want to know about “hot spots,” or neighborhoods where the disease seems to be concentrated. A new Covid-19 dashboard on the Fairfax County website (www.fairfaxcounty.gov) presents case rates by combined ZIP Codes. The dashboard also includes age, race, and locality rates.
Monday evening, the first Mason District virtual budget town meeting was broadcast live on Channel 16, with School Board member Dr. Ricardy Anderson, Fairfax County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent Leigh Burden, and Fairfax County Chief Financial Officer Joe Mondoro as my guests. Many thanks to those constituents who called in or sent e-mail questions about the revised FY 2021 budget. You can watch the program by logging on to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/cableconsumer/channel-16/mason-district-videos.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted some basic health practices, most of which we learned as children from our parents – wash your hands frequently, cover your cough or sneeze, stay home when sick. Those practices are tried and true, and they work. What our parents didn’t teach, and for good reason, are wildly irresponsible and reckless practices that Mr. Trump suggested last week. Injecting disinfectant into the body is not a treatment for Covid-19, or for anything else. Please get your medical advice from trusted and qualified health providers, not from a narcissistic and self-proclaimed “very stable genius.”
Penny Gross is the Mason District Supervisor, in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. She may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.