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Families with the donated vehicles given to them by NADA and Vehicles for Change (courtesy National Automobile Dealers Association)

Commuting will be easier for four families in the D.C. area, thanks to their new vehicles from a quartet of Virginia and Maryland automobile dealerships.

The businesses handed off the donated vehicles to their recipients — all single mothers — with a ceremony on March 18 at the National Automobile Dealers Association’s (NADA) headquarters (8484 Westpark Drive) in Tysons.

NADA, which represents over 16,000 auto dealerships nationwide, organized the initiative with Vehicles for Change (VFC), a nonprofit that accepts donated vehicles and gives them to families in Northern Virginia and Maryland who need access to independent transportation.

“Every day, our members see firsthand the benefits, opportunities and freedoms a vehicle brings to its owner’s life and family,” NADA President and CEO Mike Stanton said in a press release. “That’s why we’ve been engaged and supportive of VFC for several years and are excited to further embrace their mission this year.”

According to the release, NADA’s philanthropic arm — the NADA Foundation — located the donated vehicles and contributed $5,000 for each of them to cover the costs of refurbishments, repairs and other expenses that came with making them ready to drive.

Though the vehicles were donated, they’re not entirely free for the receiving families, who will each pay $950. They were provided 12-month loans from Sandy Spring Bank, which serves the D.C. region, and got warranties that cover the vehicles for six months or 6,000 miles.

The goal is to improve the recipients’ personal mobility, while also giving them “the opportunity to build their own credit portfolio and enhance their financial literacy,” NADA said.

“Access to a vehicle — by having reliable personal transportation — is paramount to a families’ ability to thrive,” NADA Board of Directors Chairman Gary Gilchrist said at the hand-off. “Not only will the vehicles here today give the recipients opportunities they might not have otherwise, but they also help families build their credit.”

According to NADA, the women who received the donated vehicles in Tysons plan to use them to get to their jobs or college, and to transport their children:

Sport Automotive Group in Silver Spring, Md., awarded a Toyota RAV4 to Candice McNair, a single mother of two daughters and a clerk in Annapolis, Md., who will use her vehicle to pursue her bachelor’s degree in health administration.

Nissan of Bowie in Bowie, Md., awarded a Nissan Versa to Toni Brown, a single mother of a teenage son and a medical secretary in Baltimore, Md., who will use her vehicle to alleviate the financial burden of her daily commute and access medical appointments.

Rosenthal Automotive Group based in Reston, Va., awarded a Nissan Altima to Tammy Carter, a single mother of two teenage daughters and a patient access specialist in Prince William County, Va., who will use her vehicle to decrease commuting time and transport her children to extracurricular activities.

Carter Myers Automotive Group based in Charlottesville, Va., awarded a Kia Rio to Adrianna Boyer, a single mother of two young children and a sales administrator in [Loudoun] County, Va., who will use her vehicle to get her son engaged in afterschool activities.

VFC founder and president Martin Schwartz noted that access to transportation enables people to be more involved with their family and community, in addition to making work, medical appointments and other tasks more convenient.

“This car is not just a mode of transportation; it’s a lifeline that will bring back normalcy to our lives,” Boyer, the Loudoun County resident, said. “Now, with the joyous addition of a car to our lives, I can foresee a positive shift. The ability to go to the grocery store, attend doctor appointments, and respond swiftly to emergencies is a game-changer.”

According to Fairfax County’s transportation data dashboard, the vast majority of residents drive to work, and about one in five households spend over 15% of their income on fuel, maintenance, tolls and other vehicle-related expenses.

Over the past decade, there’s been a slight uptick in households that don’t have a vehicle, from 5.1% in 2012 to 5.7% as of 2022.

Esposito’s Fairfax closed on March 10 after 40 years in Fairfax City (staff photo by James Jarvis)

After years of enjoying the homey Italian cuisine served at Esposito’s Fairfax, Colleen Lester and her family decided the time had come to give back to the woman behind the restaurant.

So, when they learned that Esposito’s would close for good on March 10, ending a 42-year run in Fairfax City, Lester created an online fundraiser to support owner Maria Esposito. The campaign has now raised $4,100 out of a $20,000 goal, as of press time.

Esposito previously told FFXnow that she was given just two weeks to vacate the building at 9917 Fairfax Blvd where the business had operated since 1982. The property had been sold and is being considered for a Tommy’s Express Car Wash.

According to Lester, the abrupt notice left Esposito with a significant financial burden.

“Since she didn’t have much notice, she didn’t really have time to prepare financially for the cost of moving out of the space,” Lester said by email. “She also wanted to provide some sort of severance for her employees, who all lost their jobs without much warning.”

She will also still need to pay business taxes and any debts resulting from food and equipment orders that were placed weeks to months in advance but then had to be canceled, added Lester’s mother, Brenda Halbrook, who remains in close contact with Esposito.

The GoFundMe campaign is intended to help ease the burden of those expenses. Boosted by multiple triple-digit donations, it will remain open until early July, according to Halbrook.

A native of Fairfax County, Lester says her family was “heartbroken” when they heard that their long-standing favorite dining spot was going to shutter.

“My parents have lived here for the past 40+ years. We have been going to Esposito’s together for decades and are long time customers/friends of Maria’s,” she wrote. “…Our family has been eating at Esposito’s since I was a child and now my kids love going there with my parents (their grandparents) so we are 3 generations of loyal customers.”

Esposito’s was “packed” during its final week of business, and based on their conversations with Esposito, Lester and Halbrook say the restaurant owner appreciated the outpouring of support.

Since the closure, Esposito has been working at the Italian Oven, which is owned by her cousin. The McLean restaurant reopened at 6852 Old Dominion Drive in June 2022 after a 20-year hiatus.

The possibility of a comeback for Esposito’s Fairfax in a new location isn’t out of the question, according to Halbrook.

“The sudden notice to close shocked Maria to her core, but the outpouring of support from her many fairhful customers has been incredibly helpful to her,” Halbrook said. “Maria is a ‘people person,’ who genuinely loves her ‘family’ of customers. Maria would like to open her own restaurant again, if she can get the needed support.”

Inova Fairfax Medical Campus patient drop-off (staff photo by James Jarvis)

Inova Health Systems is working to boost the capacity of its emergency room in Merrifield with the help of a $10 million gift from the co-founder of an international IT consulting firm.

The nonprofit announced last Thursday (March 21) that it received the planned gift commitment from Apex Systems co-founder Win Sheridan. The money will go to Inova’s Greatest Needs fund, which is administered by its CEO to support “critical projects and initiatives.”

Right now, those critical projects include a $161 million expansion of Inova Fairfax Hospital’s emergency department, the Washington Business Journal reported.

“Every gift to our Greatest Needs fund is a vote of confidence in our team, our shared vision and our enduring ability to care for our community,” Inova CEO and President Dr. J. Stephen Jones said in a press release. “Win’s commitment takes this a step further, with the conviction that Inova is the right partner to entrust with this most important task — the health of our community, now and into the future.”

Inova Health Foundation President and Chief Philanthropy Officer Sage Bolte told the WBJ that the expansion will help ease “surges in patient volumes” at the 923-bed hospital (3300 Gallows Road), which currently has limited space for patients to get care in private bays.

According to the WBJ, the expansion will include renovations, and the first phase is expected to be completed this year.

A venture capitalist who currently works as a partner in Alexandria Restaurant Partners, Sheridan co-founded Apex Systems in 1995 and later started his own investment firm, BDW Investments LLC. Apex is headquartered in Glen Allen, Virginia, but it has an office in Fairview Park, just on the other side of I-495 from Inova’s Fairfax campus.

According to Inova, Sheridan also donated $1 million in 2021 to create the Sheridan Director, Molecular Tumor Board (MTB) at the Inova Schar Cancer Institute. The board helps match people with rare or recurring advanced cancers with personalized treatment.

“When you’re battling a serious disease, having world-class care that you don’t have to travel for makes all the difference,” Sheridan, an Alexandria native, said. “At the end of the day, I want Inova to continue providing the best possible care, if and when it’s needed by me, by my family, my friends, my community.”

Recently rebranded with a new logo, Inova is expanding its Franconia-Springfield HealthPlex campus with a planned hospital and developing a new campus in Alexandria, replacing the former Landmark Mall. The health care system has said it hopes to begin construction on both projects this year.

In addition to building up its campuses, Inova has been working to add services in the community, opening additional urgent care centers around Fairfax County and a pediatric sick clinic near Seven Corners earlier this year.

Colonel Joerg Dronia takes part in the collection and sorting of food at a Herndon event (courtesy Food for Neighbors)

The Reston-based German Armed Forces Command partnered with Food for Neighbors to help tackle food insecurity among teenagers on Saturday (March 9).

The office, which serves as the German military’s liaison to the U.S. and Canada on issues related to defense technology and weapons, helped sort nearly 3,400 pounds of donations at Herndon Middle School. It also presented a donation of more than $5,500 to Food for Neighbors.

A local nonprofit organization that provides food to middle and high school students, Food for Neighbors plans to use the funds to address teen food insecurity in partnering schools throughout Northern Virginia.

“I feel honored and privileged to present this donation as our contribution to your outstanding and very important cause,” Col. Joerg Dronia, commander of the German Armed Forces Command in the U.S. and Canada, said. “The funds were raised at the 2023 Christmas Market at our HQ here in Reston. The women and men serving there, nominated your charity organization as the prime recipient. I am more than pleased to follow their suggestion to support those in need.”

This is the second year that the German Armed Forces Command worked with Food for Neighbors after the organization participated in a similar sorting event in January 2023.

Dronia said the organization sees itself as an integral part of the local community.

“I have to repeat what I said already last year: Although, we are far away from home, you all make us feel at home here in Reston,” he said at the collection and sorting event.

Food for Neighbors founder and executive director Karen Joseph said the organization currently helps 7,500 students in 47 schools.

“In addition to representing one of our greatest NATO allies, the German Armed Forces Command is an excellent example of what it means to be a good neighbor,” Joseph said. “We are one of many organizations that have benefited from their giving spirit, and we thank them for all that they do to help our most vulnerable community members.”

Nearly 65% of Herndon Middle School’s students qualify for free and reduced-price meals, according to the Virginia Department of Education.

“Our students don’t need fancy shoes. They need food and love. By coming together over food, we create a community,” Herndon Middle School Family Liaison Salazar Laske said.

Overall, the effort sorted and collected more than 26,500 pounds of food and toiletries.

Menstrual pads and tampons (via Natracare on Unsplash)

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is marking Women’s History Month with a menstrual supply drive.

Starting today (Monday) through March 29, sites throughout the county will collect new, sealed packages of tampons, pads, liners and menstrual cups.

Those supplies will go to local shelters and nonprofits, including Bringing Resources to Aid Women’s Shelters (BRAWS), Western Fairfax Christian Ministries and Food for Others.

All Fairfax County Public Library branches are collecting donations, as are all nine magisterial district offices, Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay’s office and the Sully Community Center. The PARC at Tysons (8508 Leesburg Pike) is also accepting supplies from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. tomorrow (Tuesday).

At the board’s Feb. 20 meeting, Providence District Supervisor Dalia Palchik announced that all supervisors would support the drive to help community members “for whom access to menstrual supplies can pose a financial burden.”

“These essential hygiene products are costly, and the lack of access to safe and clean menstrual products can negatively impact someone’s overall physical and emotional well-being,” Palchik said at the meeting.

This is the first time that Fairfax County has conducted this drive, and it comes more than a year after Virginia stopped charging sales tax on menstrual products.

BRAWS, one of the supply drive’s beneficiaries, says one in five Virginia residents don’t have access to needed menstrual supplies.

“By hosting this drive with collection sites all over the county, we are raising awareness while helping meet these basic needs,” Palchik wrote in a statement to FFXnow.

Other Women’s History Month events in the area include classes and programs from the Fairfax County Park Authority and a panel of local female authors at the City of Fairfax Regional Library.

Photo via Natracare on Unsplash

Donations for the Club Phoenix Teen Council’s HeroBox drive are being collected at the Vienna Community Center (staff photo by Angela Woolsey)

Some teenage volunteers in Vienna have teamed up with a national nonprofit to show their support for American military service members.

The town’s Club Phoenix Teen Council launched a donation drive this week to collect clothes, non-perishable food and other items that will be assembled into care packages for military troops serving around the world.

Donations will be accepted through March 7 at the Vienna Community Center (120 Cherry Street SE), the town announced on Wednesday (Feb. 28) in a press release. Wanted items include:

  • New socks and undershirts
  • Non-perishable food items such as beef jerky, canned tuna, or dried fruit
  • Hygiene items such as body wipes, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen
  • Other common supplies like pens, books, or journals.

The teen council is a volunteer program in Club Phoenix, the town-run teen center that offers after-school programs and services to students in sixth through 12th grade. The council consists of nine members in seventh through 12th grade.

To organize the donation drive, the council has partnered with the nonprofit HeroBox, which aims to “provide physical and emotional support” to deployed service members, according to its website.

Designed to give the council members volunteering experience, the initiative builds on a letter-writing campaign that Club Phoenix conducted during the recent winter holiday season with A Million Thanks, another nonprofit dedicated to supporting members of the military.

“We wanted to continue supporting them, so we teamed up with HeroBox, an organization that helps
troops year-round,” Ianna Alhambra, the town’s after school program coordinator, said.

According to the Town of Vienna, the teen council hopes to collect enough donations to “fill at least 20 medium size USPS care packages for 20 military personnel with 15-20 items per package.”

Items can be dropped off at the community center’s lobby on Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday from 12-6 p.m. The Club Phoenix Teen Center, which is located in the community center’s basement, will also accept donations from 2:30-6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 2:30-9 p.m. on Fridays.

Great Clips Reston franchisee Sean Carroll with Cindy’s Legacy founder Stacy Brooks and his daughter
Violet Carroll (courtesy Great Clips)

(Updated at 12:30 p.m.) Cindy’s Legacy — a Reston-based nonprofit organization that helps cancer patients in financial stress — received a lift from a local business last week.

Reston’s Great Clips donated $579 to the nonprofit organization, which was named after its founder’s mother, Cindy Martin, who had been a hairstylist in Reston for more than 30 years. Martin died from brain cancer in 2011.

(Correction: This story initially stated that Martin died in 2021.)

“This event, the vital funds raised, and our ongoing partnership will continue to honor her legacy and help cancer patients in our community,” Cindy’s Legacy founder and president Stacy Brooks said.

The three-day fundraiser also included free haircuts for cancer patients and showcased the business’ hair donation programs.

Cindy’s Legacy has since provided more than $75,000 to at least 400 cancer patients nationwide. Great Clips also offers free haircuts to anyone who wants to donate their hair to Wigs for Kids, an initiative that helps kids and young adults experiencing hair loss.

Clips of Kindness is another program run by Great Clips that provides a free clipper cut to anyone who is losing their hair due to cancer treatment.

The fundraiser for Cindy’s Legacy — titled Shear Love — kicked off on Valentine’s Day and concluded after three days.

Run by franchisee Sean Carroll, Great Clips opened its Reston location at South Lakes Village Center (11130 South Lakes Drive, Suite E) in November 2022. The company was founded in Minneapolis in 1982 and now has over 4,400 salons in the U.S. and Canada.

Entering the Town of Herndon (staff photo by Fatimah Waseem)

The Town of Herndon is officially opening up its coffers to support community cultural festivals.

A Community Cultural Festival Donation Program launched this week, allowing local organizations to request funds for free, public cultural events, the Town of Herndon announced Monday (Feb. 5).

The goal of the program is to “support a variety of events…that celebrate and share the cultures represented in the community, are open and welcoming to all, and bridge parts of the community…to build understanding,” the town says.

The town council approved a policy to create the program on Oct. 23, shortly after agreeing to contribute $2,015 for a Pakistan Heritage Day event. Council members said the town needed clear guidelines and protocols for future funding requests.

Under the newly created program, nonprofit and not-for-profit organizations must meet several criteria to receive funds. The organization must be in good legal standing and funding requests should not exceed 50% of the total event budget or $10,000, whichever number is lower.

In addition, the program is intended for new events, so the requested event can’t have been held in the town within the last five years.

The organization also can’t receive a prior donation within a fiscal year. More information on how to apply is also available on the town’s website.

This fiscal year, the Town of Herndon has allocated $70,000 for the program — an amount that will vary on a yearly basis based on the council’s direction, town spokesperson Anne Curtis says.

Tender Hearts founder Prabha Bhattarai presents bags of donated Nepali children’s books to Fairfax County Public Library Technical Operations Director Dianne Coan (courtesy Tender Hearts)

Centreville-based nonprofit Tender Hearts has donated over 100 Nepali-language children’s books to Fairfax County Public Libraries with the aim of connecting local Nepalese families and children to their cultural roots.

Prabha Bhattarai Deuja, founder and president of Tender Hearts, recently delivered the books to the Chantilly branch of Fairfax County Public Libraries, according to a news release.

“The Fairfax County Public Libraries hold a special place in my heart for its dedication to accessibility and equity,” Deuja said in the release. “To be able to contribute to that same mission with our newly added Nepalese culture books brings a sense of pride and gratitude for our community I didn’t know was possible. I am a firm believer that books are just one door to promoting our country and culture.”

The books have been cataloged and are currently available to all Fairfax County residents. More information can be found at

Tender Hearts representatives said they hope to see the collection expanded over time. The nonprofit — formally known as PKP Tender Hearts Foundation — aims to preserve and spread awareness about Nepali culture within children in the U.S.

This article was written by FFXnow’s news partner and republished with permission. Sign up for’s free email subscription today.

Reston Regional Library (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Fairfax County Public Library’s children’s collection has gotten a big funding boost.

Friends of Reston Regional Library, a volunteer-run organization that supports and promotes Reston Regional Library and Herndon Fortnightly Library along with the rest of the library system, donated $100,000 for the collection.

“This is a major donation for our group and we’re very excited to spread the word, especially as the County is about to publish its draft budget,” the organization wrote in a statement to FFXnow. “We know the library’s collection has so far been seriously underfunded.”

The gift will be used this year to purchase more copies of books that the system already has, as well as new book for young readers. It will help fund the purchase of children’s non-fiction books, picture books and children’s and young adult fiction books.

The check was officially presented on Sunday (Feb. 4) to FCPL Director Jessica Hudson at the Friends’ Mystery and Thriller book sale at Reston Regional Library.

FCPL is seeking a permanent increase in funds to bring its children’s collection up to date. County Executive Bryan Hill will release his proposed fiscal year 2025 budget on Feb. 20.


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