How the COVID-19 Fight Brought Our Community Together

When Virginia Hospital Center Foundation reached out to the community to help fight COVID-19 and support frontline healthcare workers, the response was overwhelming and heartwarming.

As restaurants closed, the Foundation partnered with the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) to launch the “Buy a Nurse Lunch” program. From March-December 2020, CPRO donated 1,200 meals prepared by local restaurants. The group donated another 360 meals from January-March 2021.

In this way, the community has been helping not only essential healthcare workers at Virginia Hospital Center, but also Arlington’s local restaurants and their employees. “Each purchase from a restaurant is between $400 and $500…” CPRO Executive Director Kim Klingler explains “…and there have been a few times that a restaurant has told us that the income from ‘Buy a Nurse Lunch’ made the difference for them being able to make rent that month.”

In addition, the Foundation partnered with Sarah Goldman Photography to raise funds for the Hospital’s COVID-19 response. Sarah offered outside holiday portrait sessions through The Front Steps Project for all those who gave. This effort raised almost $7,000.

Every gift has made a difference during the pandemic. One young Arlington girl wanted to support the Hospital where she was born. So, she set up a socially distanced lemonade stand and raised $60.

These are just a few of hundreds of inspiring ways our community has come together to support the Hospital’s frontline health care workers in this challenging time.

Donations Provide NICU Families a Chance to Bond Through New Technology

Having a critically ill newborn is a harrowing experience. But for Alison and Josh Stern, what made it even harder were the times when they couldn’t be with their new baby in person. To address this situation — one that so many parents face — the Sterns started a fundraising campaign that will bring AngelEye cameras to the Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Through AngelEye Camera technology, parents can watch a video stream with their baby — from anywhere, whenever they want, and on any device. Throughout the pandemic, these cameras have also helped family members virtually visit the newborn babies.

According to Melody Dickerson, RN, MSN, Chief Nursing Officer at Virginia Hospital Center, “These cameras are just transformational. The camera can be mounted on the incubator or on the crib of an infant and Mom and Dad can tune in to see their baby at any time.”
The campaign exceeded its initial goal of $20,000, raising over $72,000 in less than two months. This includes a $20,000 match by The Superhero Project – an organization that supports families with newborns in the NICU. Many of the donors were former Virginia Hospital Center NICU families themselves.

“We realized that the support from the community – especially from families who had a NICU stay at the Hospital – was really a reflection of the amazing care they had received,” said Josh Stern.

The secure live feeds are password protected and allow parents to watch their child from a phone or computer, reducing their worry and stress levels. They can talk, sing or read, which is a great way to bond with their baby — even when they can’t be next to them.

This wonderful addition to the Hospital will provide extra peace of mind to over 800 NICU families every year.

Why the Women’s Health Circle Chose This Program as Its 2021 Funding Priority

Women’s Health Circle members partner with the Hospital through their personal support, community outreach and program involvement. Each year, the members choose a specific priority to receive their philanthropic dollars. For 2021, the Pharmacy Assistance Program at VHC Pediatrics — a community benefit program of Virginia Hospital Center which serves 10% of patients — was selected.

Finding a pediatrician who accepts Medicaid in Northern Virginia can take months. That’s why VHC Pediatrics is here for the most underserved children in our region — making sure they have everything they need to be healthy and thrive.

VHC Pediatrics relies on the help of the community so every patient has access to the prescription medications that can improve and even save their lives. The Women’s Health Circle has a goal of raising $180,000 for this important effort. Join them in supporting Arlington’s most vulnerable children. For more information about the Women’s Health Circle go to

Girl Scouts Send Their Medical Heroes Hundreds of Girl Scouts Cookies

Virginia Hospital Center is humbled to have been adopted by local Girl Scout troops as their Hometown Hero.

Girl Scout groups participating in their Hometown Heroes program encouraged their 30 troops to recognize the Hospital.

Barbara Studenmund bought 24 boxes of cookies from Troop 3185. “I was looking for a way to express my appreciation to those working at the hospital to save so many lives, putting themselves at risk, and when the Girl Scout cookies became available, it seemed like a win-win”.

The Hospital has received 671 boxes so far. Thanks so much to these enterprising youths and everyone who continues to support devoted healthcare workers for their efforts to keep our neighborhoods healthy and safe.

“It’s very local and very personal,” said Dorine Andrews, the Service Unit Manager for area scouts. “[The Hospital] is a real institution in Northern Virginia.”

Brownie Troop #60229 — composed of six third-grade girls at Glebe Elementary School in Arlington — sold a remarkable 1,415 boxes, of which 395 went to the Hospital. In second place was Troop #60160, which donated 59 boxes.

“The girls are really motivated by giving back to others in need,” said Sheila Herrling and Ilyssa Clay, Troop 60229 leaders. “And with COVID in full swing, and VHC nurses & doctors working around the clock, it was hard to imagine anyone more in need of a little cookie love.”

The cookies are distributed to our staff by an employee who volunteers to wheel a “sunshine cart” through the Hospital. The snacks boost morale, especially among the approximately 140 staff members who work directly with COVID-19 patients each shift.

Arlington Community Partners Battle Breast Health for Those Most in Need

Virginia Hospital Center was honored to continue its collaboration with the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office and Koons Arlington Toyota for their annual fundraiser.

In 2020, they came together once again to advance the work of the Hospital’s Outpatient Clinic — focusing on Breast Health. The Sheriff’s Office chose this program to honor two of their staff who received care and treatment for breast cancer at the Hospital. Sheriff Beth Arthur remarks, “It warms my heart, visiting the Clinic and witnessing how our annual fundraising donations have impacted many lives with better healthcare and state-of-the-art facilities.”

Donor Digest

As a not-for-profit hospital, Virginia Hospital Center depends on the community to be able to provide state-of-the art health care. And this past year, community support has helped healthcare heroes confront the unprecedented pandemic head-on — in the fight of our lives and theirs.

Among our notable donations in the past months, the Hospital received:

  • A $210,000 estate gift from Gladys G. Shulaw, who wanted to support clinical technicians through the Friends of Nursing Fund.
  • A $100,000 contribution from a first-time donor to name an in-patient Medical Surgical room.
  • Two separate gifts of $25,000 from two different families in support of various nursing scholarships.

Plus, the annual VHC Pediatrics Toy Drive donated more than 1,000 toys and gift cards to underserved and underinsured children and families throughout December.