Send announcements to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102, e-mail to or fax to 703-917-0991. Deadline is Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged. For more information, call Jennifer Lesinski at 703-917-6454. This free listing is reserved for activities and events that are open to the public at no or minimal cost.

Mercantile Potomac Bank, in partnership with NBC4 and Shred-it, a mobile shredding and recycling company, is hosting a free community document shredding event. Shred-it trucks will be parked at the Mercantile Potomac Bank, 21031 Triple Seven Road, Suite 160, Potomac Falls, Saturday, Dec. 10, from 8 a.m.-noon, to destroy personal documents on the spot. Consumers will watch their own papers go through the shredding process. Up to five boxes of personal papers per individual will be accepted. No business or commercial materials. This service would normally cost about $50 at a Shred-it facility.

During the event, Mercantile Potomac Bank will distribute tips to help consumers safeguard their personal information and will also hold a raffle drawing for prizes that help prevent identity theft.

The next meeting in the process to develop the new Tourism Destination Strategy for Loudoun County will be held Tuesday, Dec. 13. This strategy will be used to identify growth initiatives to increase tourism to the area over the next five years. Industry representatives and citizens of Loudoun County are invited to give their input to help the Loudoun Convention and Visitors Association prioritize the goals, strategic initiatives and tactics for LoudounÕs Tourism Destination Strategy. The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Leesburg at Historic Carradoc Hall, 1500 East Market St., Leesburg. There will be two sessions: from 8:30-10:30 a.m. and from 3-5 p.m. RSVP to Stephanie Bill at 703-771-2170, Ext. 20 or by e-mail by Friday, Dec. 9.

The Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce has the following upcoming events:

* Business Showcase Breakfast, Thursday, Dec. 8, 7:30-9 :00 a.m., Belmont Country Club, 19961 Belmont Manor Lane

Ashburn. Tickets: $15 for members in advance, $20 for members at the door, $25 for nonmembers. Preregistration is required no later than Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m. RSVP to or call 703-777-2176.

* Chamber Holiday Open House, Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2-5 p.m. Refreshments and hors d'oeuvres will be served. Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, 101 Blue Seal Drive, Suite 100, Leesburg. This event is free and open to all members.

Sonak Family Chiropractic has joined forces with the U.S. Marine Corps in an effort to help local children have a wonderful Christmas. New, unwrapped toys will be collected until Dec. 14, at 46859 Harry Byrd Highway, No. 102, Sterling. Call 703-406-0200.

Friday, Dec. 16, Chipotle Mexican Grill (chi-POAT-lay) will open in SterlingÕs BorderÕs Plaza shopping center at the corner of Route 7 and Palisades Parkway.ÊÊ

As a preopening holiday gift, onÊDec. 15,Êfrom 5-8 p.m., Chipotle will throw a fund-raiser party for Potomac Falls High School Sports Boosters. A $5 donation at the door will get a big gourmet burrito and a drink. Chipotle will donate 100 percent of theÊproceeds to help the build a new concessions stand.ÊÊ

Small Business Resources, Wednesday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m., at Sterling Library, 120 Enterprise St. Learn about various small business resources available to the public both in print and online. A portion of the program will be devoted specifically to small business development in the ESL (English as a Second Language) and Hispanic communities. For adults. Advanced registration required, call 703-430-9500.

Local area vendors are invited to the 2005 Loudoun County

Procurement's Buyer/Seller Information Exchange sessions. The purpose of these informal sessions is to give area businesses the opportunity to meet the county's procurement staff and become familiar with the county's procurement process. The next round of sessions are as follows:

* Thursday, Dec. 22, 2 p.m.

* Monday, Jan. 23, 10:30 a.m.

* Friday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.

* Thursday, March 23, 10:30 a.m.

* Friday, April 21, 2 p.m.

* Friday, May 19, 10:30 a.m.

* Thursday, June 22, 2 p.m.

* Monday, July 24, 10:30 a.m.

The sessions will be held in the Lovettsville Room on the first floor of the County Government Center, 1 Harrison St., S.E., in Leesburg. Call 703-771-5142 or send an e-mail to

The UPS Store located at 44050 Ashburn Shopping Plaza, Ashburn Village, through Dec. 23, will be offering customers the opportunity to purchase Toys for Tots donation cards for $1, with all proceeds going to local Marine Toys for Tots efforts. In addition, limited-edition replicas of the UPS Store/Toys for Tots No. 88 Ford race car will be available for $9.95, with a portion of the proceeds also benefiting the toy campaign. Unwrapped, new toys will also be accepted. Visit

Wegman's has selected Loudoun Interfaith Relief as the beneficiary of its Care About Hunger? campaign. Through Dec. 24, customers will be able to add a donation to their bill at check out, with 100 percent of that donation going to Loudoun Interfaith. Last year, the nonprofit organization directly served more than 11,000 families and through its food-sharing program provided more than 100,000 pounds of food to other organizations.

Blue Ridge Meats donated 500 pounds of deer meat to the LINK Thanksgiving Program Nov. 19. The meat was cut into steaks, roasts, tenderloins and venison burger. Blue Ridge Meats will again donate 1,000 pounds of meat to support the LINK Christmas Program Dec. 17, at Christ the Redeemer Catholic in Sterling and Trinity Presbyterian in Herndon. More than 400 families, comprising 2,000 people, are expected to register for this event.

Blue Ridge Meats has been in business since 1990 and is owned by Doug and Lois Aylestock, who became partners with Hunters for the Hungry in 1991 and have processed venison for the area food banks Ñ Seven Loaves, Middleburg; Interfaith Relief, Leesburg; Messiah's Market, Sterling; the Good Shepherd Alliance, Sterling and Food for Others, Fairfax Ñ to assist those who might need some extra assistance in Loudoun and Fairfax counties.

Provident Bank has launched a corporate-wide initiative and multicultural outreach model aimed at meeting the banking needs of Loudoun CountyÕs growing Hispanic community. Thirteen branches in the greater Washington area, including the Sterling Shoppers Food Warehouse (SFW) branch located at 47100 Community Plaza, will serve as pilot locations for the new initiative and will offer products, services, and community outreach programs targeted specifically toward Hispanics.

A range of services, including a ÒLanguage LineÓ interpreter service, have been put in place to meet the banking needs of Hispanic customers, while also providing them with better accessibility. These resources include acceptance of the Matricula Consular Card, bilingual Spanish ATM options and the ITIN Mortgage product for permanent and non-permanent residents.

BeckITSystems, a technology management company for small- and mid-sized organizations, was named Small Business of the Year by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce. BeckITSystems was previously named the Loudoun County Technology Business of the Year by the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce in 2004. The award recognizes BeckITSystems for exemplifying achievement and excellence in business serving the Greater Washington area.

Van Metre Companies donated $140,000 to four Loudoun County organizations as part of its 50th anniversary. Van Metre donated $35,000 each to the following programs: Loudoun Community Free Clinic, Loudoun County Fire, Rescue and Emergency Management Department, Loudoun County Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department and the Loudoun Youth Initiative.