Issue 43
Special Edition
Sunday, November 22, 2020
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

With each setting sun, the days are getting shorter and this historic year is drawing closer to its end. Typically, these last six weeks are a time of gratitude, gathering, and giving. This holiday time is wonderful, but let's face it, it can also be very hectic. It is certainly going to be different this year, but maybe if we embrace the slower, quieter pace, we can discover a new appreciation for this time along the way. We can gain a new gratitude for the simple things that surround us on a daily basis. Also, sometimes the best way to get a fresh perspective is to get outside ourselves and help others.

With our traditions being upended, I hope this special issue of the Wheeler Report helps you successfully navigate the change. You'll find a sampling of opportunities to benefit others in our community, ways you can embrace the spirit of the season safely, and resources to help you take care of yourself. Additionally, if you, or someone you know, is struggling financially due to the pandemic, the county COIVD-19 Resources webpage is full of information.

Hoping all of you have a happy and healthy end of 2020.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Volunteer Prince William's Un-Trim-A-Tree Holiday Gift Program serves children and seniors in need. Each year the program provides gifts to thousands in the greater PWC community. They partner with local churches, clubs, and businesses to bring a brighter holiday season to local children of the community. Last year they spread their special form of joy to over 5,200 children and 200 seniors. Submit a donor form to participate. Call Bonnie Fulford at 703.369.5292 or send an email with questions.
Each child is given two gifts valued at no more than $75 in total to ensure equity. Donations of Senior Baskets will be given to homebound seniors throughout the community. Baskets could include card games, crossword puzzles or other suitable activities as well as little treats. Hand cream, warm socks, lap throws, or wraps are also popular.
The PWC Fire & Rescue System is collecting toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation. This year’s drive will run through December 12. The national charity program collects and distributes toys to children whose parents struggling financially.
Please drop off your new and unwrapped toy at any fire station in Prince William County, City of Manassas Park, or Manassas City. Additional drop off locations are at the PWC Public Safety Training Center in Nokesville and the lobby at the McCoart Government Center in Woodbridge.

Please follow the drop off instructions listed below:
  • Enclose the items in a white or clear trash bag. On the outside of the bag, mark the number of items enclosed. 
  • Due to COVID-19, please ring the doorbell at fire stations and leave your bagged donations outside the door.
  • Clothes and used toys cannot be accepted. Please consider donating used toys and clothing to churches and shelters in your neighborhood. 
  • If you prefer to make a monetary donation in lieu of purchasing a toy, please visit the Toys for Tots Donation webpage.
Toys for Tots started in 1947 when Major William L. Hendricks' wife, Diane tried to donate a doll to a needy child but couldn't find an organization to do so. Major Hendricks gathered a group of local Marine reservists who coordinated and collected 5,000 toys for local children. Then Hendricks, director of public relations at Warner Brothers Studio, asked his friend, Walt Disney, to design a poster for a national campaign. The result was the three-car, red train logo. Toys for Tots is the only charitable endeavor associated with the Department of Defense that reaches out to local communities. 
The annual Tournament of Turkeys will have a twist in 2020. The event hosted by Pitkin's Dale City Hardware and the Pitkin's Woodbine Hardware in Manassas and created by sisters Amy and Sarah Pitkin will be virtual with participants supporting one of three local charities:
  • Action in Community Through Service (ACTS)
  • The Prince William County Boys & Girls Clubs
  • The Arc of Greater Prince William

Each charity has raffle tickets for a chance to win a grill of your choice: Weber Genesis II E-330, Traeger Pro575, or Large Big Green Egg. You can also sign-up for 'Thanksgrilling' tips, recipes, and a library of videos with email responses to answer your grilling questions. Finally, on Thanksgiving Day you'll join their virtual toast and announcement of the grill winners at the largest Thanksgiving Dinner in Prince William County.

Don't wait, registration closes at 11:59 pm Monday, November 23!
The Salvation Army of Prince William County has kicked off its holiday season and needs your help! They have registered 1,200 angels for this year's Angel Tree project, need volunteers to man Red Kettles at locations across PWC, as well as to make monetary and toy donations.
Below is a list of their projects and the contact information for each:
  • Be an Angel Tree warehouse volunteer or work the Angel Tree registration at the Manassas Mall from Nov. 27 to Dec. 7th. To sign up, call 703-580-8991 and leave your name, email address, cell phone number, and dates of availability.
  • Be a Red Kettle volunteer bell ringer at one of 25 PWC locations. Visit the Register to Ring website to volunteer as an individual or a group, or to make a donation.
  • Donate towards a Christmas Basket for a local family. Visit the Salvation Army Christmas Basket website to learn more.
  • Make a toy donation through Walmart. Visit the Walmart Angel Tree website to donate toys or clothing for infants to youth 12 years of age.
The Prince William Area Disaster Fund was created to offer relief to the residents of the Greater Prince William area who were most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Created in partnership with PWC Government and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park The fund managed by the independent nonprofit Human Services Alliance of Greater Prince William. Funding priorities include housing, human services, employment assistance, and other unmet critical needs.
It's no coincidence GivingTuesday is held on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. Created in 2012 as a simple idea of a day where people are encouraged to do good, it has grown into a global movement that inspires people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity. This year GivingTuesday is December 1, 2020. Participating is easy! Whether you give your voice, goods, time, or money, being generous is a way to help people in need. Be on the lookout for donation match opportunities (Facebook matched $7 million in 2019). You can find inspiration and ideas on ways to participate on GivingTuesday's Facebook page.
The 2020 Leadership Prince William (Issue 34) project was sidelined earlier this year by COVID-19. Yet, they remain committed to their promise to the at-risk youth who reside on the Youth for Tomorrow campus. The project, to provide an obstacle course and sensory rooms for mental health benefits, was developed, planned and voted on by the class members.

Youth For Tomorrow serves boys, girls, and families of all ages whose lives are in crisis. Their residential program is based in Bristow and continues to be nationally accredited. It is complimented by programs serving hundreds of children in local schools and private homes. You can learn more about the project and Youth for Tomorrow in their 3 1/2-minute video.
Here's how you can help:
  • Donate funds for the project. Any amount will help. Visit their Donate webpage or mail your check, payable to Leadership Prince William, to 9720 Capital Court, Suite 204; Manassas, VA 20110 by December 5.  
  • Donate materials needed to complete the project. Contact Andrea Van Wambeke for information on supplies.
  • Share the 2020 Class Project webpage with friends & family in your network and ask them to help and share.
  • If you know someone who can provide materials or labor to complete our project at a future date reach out to them and ask for their assistance.
Getting Into The Spirit
Thanksgiving in 2020 won't be the same but there are ways to celebrate and stay safe. To help, the county compiled a tool kit for you for everything from traveling to gathering. You’ll find hyperlinks to different resources, ideas for low risk activities, and a list of moderate and high-risk activities you may want to avoid.
Northern Virginia Veterans Association has taken on the role of planning, organizing and running Wreaths Across America at Quantico National Cemetery from December 16 through December 19. This is an enormous logistical event and help is needed during the 4-days with wreath laying, buying wreaths or volunteering. It's a great opportunity for the whole family to 'Remember, Honor, and Teach' about our veterans and their sacrifices.
There are several ways you can participate:
Please email for more information.
Novant Health Auxiliary's annual Circle of Lights Tree and Candle Lighting Ceremony will get you in the holiday mood! This year it will be pre-recorded and available on their website Thursday, December 3 at 5 pm. A time-honored community fundraiser, donations will benefit Novant Health UVA Health System for Personal Protection Equipment for their medical staff who care for patients in isolation. You can make donations in the name of a special person, organization, or as a general donation in recognition of the many COVID-19 losses with the hope of honoring and healing our country.
Donations will be recognized on their website, and the Circle of Lights display in the lobby of Novant Health UVA Health System Prince William Medical Center. ​You will also receive a card acknowledging your donation and, if you choose, your honoree(s) may be notified.
The season's best, brightest, and socially distant holiday activity is back for 2020! Bull Run Festival of Lights, a 2.5-mile drive through of festive light displays, is open and running nightly through January 10, 2021. Take advantage of their online purchasing discount, and for more savings use promo code WEB20 for an additional $5 off the Monday through Thursday rate.
If you are looking to give your holiday spirit a boost, the Hylton Center for the Performing Arts is for you. There is something for everyone in this year's wide variety of holiday themed virtual offerings of:
Taking Care Of Yourself
The holidays can be stressful on any given year. Adding them to a stressful 2020, can make them even more difficult. So, what do you do? Well PWC Libraries is here to help with a 23-minute simple yoga for relaxation and meditation video. This de-stress at your desk is designed to be done while seated and no yoga experience is needed.
Adding the pandemic to the holidays, for some can become too much to bear. The Mayo Clinic has tips on preventing holiday stress and depression. On the CDC website, you'll find information on coping with stress and anxiety related to the pandemic, including information for specific groups such as parents and first responders.
Take Action: Should you, or someone you know, show signs of mental health struggles there is help:
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.