Vienna Foodies Work to Make Positive Impact in Vienna Community

Annabelle Rosse, Staff Reporter

Over the past months, heart signs made by the group Rustic Love have been appearing in lawns all over Vienna. The charismatic hearts seem to cheer up every lawn they touch. Little is it known, however, the message these signs hold. All proceeds from these signs go towards helping food-insecure families via the One Neighborhood Foundation, with help from another local group called Vienna Foodies. This local foundation takes the profits from the sign sales and puts it towards “supporting first responders and food-insecure families” during this pandemic. This is a mission in which both groups, Rustic Love and Vienna Foodies, deeply believe. The signs were a collaboration between the two and one of many projects Vienna Foodies have organized to give back to their community.

Since the beginning of quarantine in March, local restaurants around the country have been forced to close their doors. Vienna Foodies works to prevent this in our community by promoting local eateries on their Facebook page and encouraging people to order carry-out from them. Those highlighted could be anything from Luciano’s, a pizzeria in Oakton, to the Marshmallow Fellow, a home-operated confectioner in Vienna. These spotlights draw in new customers, giving the establishments much-needed business and diners new places to explore their taste buds. Many Foodies go the extra mile and do not just purchase food for their own family, but also donate towards providing meals for families in need.

According to a Feeding America survey, about 16,170 people in Fairfax County are food insecure. Due to the pandemic, the organization has projected that over time the number will increase to 120,330. To help out these disadvantaged families, Vienna Foodies donates meals and raises money to provide meals for families in need. Members also hold community fundraisers and donate through the Venmo app. Restaurants take these funds and put them towards preparing meals to be distributed to food-insecure families. Foodies also volunteer to pick up and deliver said food to families in need. These special deliveries are often posted on the group’s Facebook page with the name of the restaurant, a description of the order, and some pictures. In many ways, these donations and private deliveries are made to express support, kindness and hope for our local communities in these times of uncertainty.

The most recent act of kindness from this organization took place in the nation’s capital. The Vienna Foodies made several generous donations to our National Guard members, including but not limited to: prepared meals, desserts, hot beverages, hand and feet warmers and face masks. Many of the meals were provided by local Vienna restaurants. One of these was the local bakery Nothing Bundt Cakes, which baked a total of 200 bundtlets which was matched by the donations of the Foodies group, making it a total of 400 individual treats that were delivered. The donated non-food items were purchased and distributed by individual Foodie members using monetary donations from the Vienna Foodies group. With the guard members being stuck outside during the cold days, hand and feet warmers and hot beverages were a huge help. 

“Within just two days, the Vienna Foodies donated to the One Neighborhood Foundation about $20,000 to send meals to the National Guard in DC…The response was so incredible and we were able to show the National Guard that we care, appreciate, and are thinking about them as they protect our nation’s capital,” Vienna Foodies founder Lydia Russo said. 

With 9,000 members and counting, Vienna Foodies is going above and beyond to aid their community. If you are interested in helping in this mission, join Vienna Foodies via their Facebook page or donate through the Venmo app @oneneighborhood. Posting about a local restaurant or just donating a couple of dollars can make an impact in the fight against food insecurity.