By Rodney Robinson
Funds are being released from a collective, $4.2 million pool intended to help groups provide resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twenty-five regional organizations are receiving more than $1.1 million in grants. The grantees fall under four categories: safety net clinics, food access organizations, housing and education.
The pool of money was created through a partnership between the Community Foundation and the Emergency Management Alliance of Central Virginia, a group of professionals that aims to help local residents dealing with disasters, according to the organizations’ sites. The fund, dubbed the Central Virginia COVID-19 Response Fund, was activated in March with an initial gift from the Community Foundation, a Richmond-based organization that manages more than 1,000 charitable funds.
The fund has raised more than $4.2 million to date from foundations, businesses and individuals across the region, the partners said. An advisory committee will review and distribute grants from the fund on a rolling basis.
The fund is currently focused on providing support for those most likely to contract the virus or those whose health could be further compromised because of barriers to food access, healthcare or stable shelter.
“We are currently targeting those on the frontline that need to pivot and adapt quickly to an ever-increasing demand for their services,” Scott Blackwell, chief community engagement officer at the Community Foundation, said in a news release.
The groups came together in September 2018 to create a disaster relief fund, according to Sherrie Armstrong, president and CEO for the Community Foundation. With the fund already in place, the two groups activated the COVID-19 response in March and began raising money.
Organizations receiving grants in the food access category include FeedMore, Neighborhood Resource Center and Sacred Heart Center. The FeedMore funding will support staffing at the organization’s community kitchen, while Sacred Heart Center’s money will provide food, baby formula, hygiene supplies and other necessities.
Health related organizations receiving aid include Daily Planet Health Services, Jewish Family Services, Richmond Academy of Medicine and YWCA of Richmond. The grants will help with a range of causes, ranging from the production of protective face masks for essential workers to support for a COVID-19 testing site for homeless individuals.
Richmond Public Schools’ grant will go toward the purchase of 10,000 Chromebooks for students who need them to access education while schools are closed. Armstrong predicted that the RPS funding will ensure “that everyone has access to the internet and technology with everything that’s going on.”
The United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg is providing $100,000 in matching dollars to incentivize new donations made through United Way’s website. The organization was involved in the early conversations of where a fund “might live,” according to James Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg. As needs continued to grow in Central Virginia, United Way wanted to be “good partners” to help in relief efforts.
“As the response began from a fundraising standpoint, it became clear that the needs were going to continue to grow,” Tayor said.
There are 6,171 COVID-19 cases in Virginia as of April 14. There have been 154 deaths and 978 hospitalizations, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
The relief is designed to be flexible and to complement other resources and responses at the national, state and local levels, organizers said.
The fund is not taking formal applications, but nonprofits and public agencies can share their needs through this form, according to the Community Foundation’s site. Individuals seeking help are encouraged to call 211 or visit 211Virginia.org for a curated list of local social services.
Gourmet popcorn shop Lammar Marie’s reopens renovated tasting room in Short Pump
The business, which closed its retail store during COVID-19, is back open for in-person shopping and has renovated their storefront.
Short Pump gourmet snack shop Lammar Marie’s closed its doors as covid-19 settled into the US this March. Business never stopped, however. The gourmet popcorn shop continued to brighten days and elevate snack time as families quarantined.
“It was exceptional to be a part of something larger and bring people together,” says owner Rialand Lammar. “We all appreciate the little things so much more now.”
Through the summer, the popcorn shop’s action-packed flavors arrived on doorsteps across the country, including the blogging family behind Young House Love. Back in the shop, the brand underwent renovations and curated its growing collection of wines.
“We’re so excited about our partnership with Prince Michel, the winery behind our label,” Lammar says. “Each variety has tasting notes to pair with our popcorn flavors.”
The tasting room features new COVID precautions, including floor decals, sneeze guards, and seating arrangements. Fresh merch is speckled throughout, including blankets, hoodies, punny popcorn greeting cards, bowls, and more.
The tasting room reopened on Thursday, October 22. New popcorn flavors of the month are on the way, including Chicken & Waffles and S’mores. The VIP Popcorn Club continues to grow, and they are preparing for holiday orders–they can customize any flavor or bag for businesses and events.
Foodē is a new food delivery service hoping to shake up the game in Richmond
While other services charge 30 percent on delivery orders, Foodē only charges 10 percent. As a bonus, ordering take out has zero additional fees.
A Richmond entrepreneur is aiming to create a new food delivery service without the hefty fees at a time when every penny counts and many restaurants are struggling. Foodē, a new app launching next month, is a user-friendly service that delivers great food without crazy fees.
The pandemic has been especially challenging for restaurant owners. While delivery services may be necessary to keep doors open, the fees associated may be causing restaurants to lose money. Foodē aims to solve that problem by offering food delivery services that won’t destroy profits for small mom and pop restaurants. While other services charge 30 percent on delivery orders, Foodē only charges 10 percent. As a bonus, ordering take out has zero additional fees.
Restaurants can test the service for 60 days free of charge. The hardware necessary to use the app is free and Foodē is offering to enter the full menu for the first restaurants that sign up. From there, restaurants can manage inventory, add discounts, and make changes to the menu and hours.
Much like other delivery services in the market, consumers can download an app or use a web browser to view restaurants and place an order. However, the difference lies in the savings. Whether one chooses takeout or delivery, they will pay exactly what the merchant charges, never more. Contactless dine-in and curbside pickup is included as features for no additional fee.
With family in the restaurant industry as both owners and employees, Foodē founders Phu and Anna Nguyen know from experience how challenging fees can be for restaurants first hand. They wanted to create a service that would help, not hinder, a restaurant’s growth.
With no investors to answer to, they don’t have to worry about the pressure to increase profits.
“The goal is to create a platform that is more socially responsible. It’s not about making money as the end goal,” said Phu.
The service is expected to launch next month. Restaurants and grocery stores interested in registering should contact [email protected].
For more information on how to join as a business or consumer, visit go-foode.com.
Lamplighter co-owner cooking up new Chipotle-style breakfast concept in West End
Zach Archibald, co-owner of Lamplighter Coffee Roasters, is betting on a new Chipotle-style breakfast concept near Freeman High School.
From Richmond BizSense:
Zach Archibald is betting there’s a place in the West End for his style of breakfast.
The co-founder and co-owner of Lamplighter Coffee Roasters will launch Surrounding Counties Specialty Coffee Explorers Club, a quick-serve breakfast concept on Nov. 1 at 8801-A Three Chopt Road.
The 1,500-square-foot spot in the Westbury Shopping Center will sell coffee drinks and breakfast food in a to-go format with a cafeteria-line format similar to the Chipotle experience.