K Scarry of Herndon, Community Director of The People's Supper, and Jimmy Cirrito, owner of Jimmy's Old Town Tavern in Herndon, discuss a new initiative that needs no funding "to get all of our neighbors and local businesses through to the other side of the pandemic."
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
During the early days of the pandemic, K Scarry set up Herndon Cares.org, of First Baptist Church of Herndon. Expanding partnerships with faith organizations, restaurants, and volunteers, the nonprofit provided 10,478 to food insecure Herndon/Reston families in the form of takeout dinners purchased from local restaurants. Scarry organized a GOFUNDME, raising over $67,000 to pay for the meals.
By mid-summer, the church's triage food distribution had ended, and Scarry, who happened to be Community Director of The People's Supper (www.thepeoplessupper.org), began considering a new initiative, one that needed no funding "to get all of our neighbors and local businesses through to the other side of the pandemic."
Scarry seeks to produce three events a month, two recurring, and the third different. "We're resting this work on three pillars," she said. "One is to support local businesses; (the second) to combat isolation, and (the third) to elevate the work of nonprofits who are on the ground, meeting community needs," she said. Called "morale boosters" by Scarry, people gather at fun events while supporting local businesses and learning more about nonprofits.
Scarry's plan begins with virtual bingo games and the matching of restaurants with local nonprofits... "The week before the bingo game, when you buy from... a named restaurant, you'll get a bingo card in your order... The game would be co-hosted by the restaurant and a nonprofit, giving space for the nonprofit to name ways people could plug-in to support their work," she said.
"There's no better place to be than in Herndon, to get through a pandemic like this," said Jimmy Cirrito, owner of Jimmy's Old Town Tavern in Herndon. "God bless each and every one of you."
The second proposed monthly event is movie night at congregation parking lots, matching a restaurant to each location. "It'll be a chance for us to be together and do an activity that's COVID-safe," Scarry said.
Becca Messman is a pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon. She remembered reading about history and wondering what she would have done in World War II or the Civil Rights Movement. "The answer is, What are we doing now, in these crises," she said. "I want to show my kids that when our turn came, we did everything possible to safeguard and rebuild and comfort our community."
Scarry said she seeks to kick-off the third planned initiative in mid-February. It is the sale of hand-crafted greeting cards placed at local coffee and tea shops. Artists Natalie Daratony of Herndon and Thomas Winant, a Fairfax County Public School student, hand-crafted the cards.
The People's Supper is a project of The Dinner Party, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization.