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Votes

Community, Dec. 17-23

Send announcements or events, which are open to the public at no or minimal cost, to The Loudoun Connection, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102 or e-mail <a href="mailto:loudoun@connectionnewspapers.com">loudoun@connectionnewspapers.com</a>. Deadline is Friday, two weeks before the event. Photos/artwork encouraged.

The Loudoun County Holiday Coalition "Neighbors Helping Neighbors" served more than 1,100 families on Thanksgiving. Each family received a food basket and a food card to purchase perishable items for a typical Thanksgiving meal.

Collections for the Christmas drive run at the Holiday Coalition site, 22714 Glenn Drive, Sterling, Dec. 7-18. Financial donations can be dropped off at the site or mailed to the Loudoun County Department of Family Services at 102 Heritage Way N.E., Suite 103, Leesburg, VA 20176.

The Loudoun County Fire-Rescue System and the Loudoun Career Fire Fighters Association are participating in the 61st annual Toys for Tots Campaign. New, unwrapped toys will be collected at the Fire and Rescue Stations, through Dec. 19. Drop off points include fire stations: in Ashburn at 20688 Ashburn Road and 21730 Red Run Drive; in Sterling at 104 Commerce St. and 46700 Middlefield Drive; in Leesburg at 143 Catoctin Circle S.E. and 61 Plaza St. N.E. Call the department’s Toys for Tots coordinator, Lt. Nicole Hankin at 703-737-8011.

LINK is seeking volunteers to help with its holiday basket distribution. Volunteers are needed Saturday, Dec. 20, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., at Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, 46833 Harry Byrd Highway, Sterling, for food distribution. Call 703-437-4409 or e-mail Diana@hamiltongroup.com.

Loudoun County Animal Care & Control is hosting a Pet Pantry in conjunction with the Community Holiday Coalition to provide donated pet food and supplies to families in need during the holiday season. The Pet Pantry will be located at the Community Holiday Coalition store in Sterling during its December distribution dates. For more information on the Community Holiday Coalition and the Pet Pantry, visit www.loudoun.gov/holidaycoalition. For more information on Animal Care & Control and the CARE program, visit www.loudoun.gov/animals.

Loudoun County is holding a Ms. Senior Loudoun County pageant in January. Open to residents who will reach 60 years of age by Jan. 24. For more information, call the local senior center or Carolyn Bledsoe, 571-437-4543.

The 2008 Loudoun County Holiday Buy Fresh, Buy Local guide has been released and lists sources of local foods, winter farm products, Christmas trees, decorations and more. Copies available at community centers, libraries, tourism offices, the Heritage Farm Museum, wineries and a number of area stores. Call 703-777-0426, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit www.buylocalvirginia.org for individual copies.

"The Lure of Loudoun: Centuries of Change in Virginia’s Emerald County," a diary in pictures and text of Loudoun County is on sale. The book is illustrated with more than 300 color and black-and-white images of Loudoun’s landscapes, personalities, artifacts and historic documents. Cost: $45 plus tax. Available from Beth Friedmann at 703-777-7427 or Loudoun Museum, 16 Loudoun St. S.W., Leesburg.

Visit www.loudounfarms.org to find local family farms that offer choose-and-cut Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, poinsettias and other Loudoun holiday items. Farmers will provide assistance in tree selection, bow saws for cutting, and help loading trees.

The Loudoun County Senior Trips Program is offering overnight trips by bus to New York City, San Antonio, New Orleans, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon for seniors age 55 and older. Call Mark Humphrey at the Cascades Senior Center at 703-430-2397 for trip information and registration.

The Loudoun County Public Library is launching LoudounPedia, a Wiki to find and contribute information about county events, organizations, news, politics, entertainment and more. LoudounPedia helps find the information through multiple links and pathways. For those contributing content, quickly update information and group with similar organizations. Applications to contribute are accessible at www.loudounpedia.org.

The trustees of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation announce that they have concluded their grant cycle for 2009. The foundation has pledged or made gifts totaling more than $34 million to various charities since its inception. Loudoun-based charities and organizations will have received more than $10 million, including $869,000 for 2009.

Volunteer Loudoun’s Make a Difference Day was successful, collecting food, personal care and household items for nearly 890 families; an 18 percent increase in donations from last year.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, locally known as the Northern Virginia CASH is seeking volunteers to deliver free tax preparation services at no cost to working families and individuals in the community who earned less than $42,000 in 2008. Contact Karen Velez, 703-771-5718 or karen.velez@loudoun.gov or Debra Bressler, 703-777-0505 or debra.bressler@loudoun.gov to register.

The Loudoun Community Health Center needs funds to provide medical care for needy Loudoun residents. The health center provides medical care to anyone in need, regardless of their ability to pay, whether they have insurance or not. The goal is to raise $300,000 before the end of 2008. Donate at www.LoudounCHC.org or send a check to the Loudoun Community Health Center, 224 A Cornwall St. N.W., Leesburg, VA 20176.

The Loudoun Literacy Council has received a matching donation of $10,000 from an anonymous donor. The donor pledged a gift of $10,000 if the board of directors of the Loudoun Literacy Council can raise $10,000 during December. The council conducts English classes in churches and community centers, offers individualized tutoring to low-literate adults and provides literacy activities to children from disadvantaged families. To contribute, mail a check to Loudoun Literacy Council, to P.O. Box 1032, Leesburg, VA 20177 or donate at www.loudounliteracy.org.