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Love Light Placemaking

2nd Sundays Pivot to Meet Community Needs

Answering the call to champion for one’s neighbor is no small task. For some, it is only natural to step into that role. Since 2010, the 2nd Sunday’s events have been coordinated by Shirley Vermillion. 2nd Sunday’s are a celebration of arts and culture, featuring some of the finest artisans and live music from the region. Since March 2020, restrictions of large gatherings altered this tradition that normally runs through December each year. Never one to sit idle, Shirley’s ears were open to her community, and she began developing new ways to reach out.

Serving five years as the recreational chairperson for the First Colony community gave Shirley the experience of hosting large social, food, and entertainment events. Shirley’s vast network, and track record as a goodwill ambassador, empowered her to mobilize like-minded doers. The residents of her community spoke up and Shirley went to work on a solution for the community and those in need.  “The need was apparent for more than fast food solutions and our area food trucks were able to meet that need,” Shirley explained. A short message to Jim Kennedy, proprietor of FoodaTude, inspired a dialogue with the city and county authorities to permit food trucks to conduct business in neighborhoods. Specific guidelines needed to be met and those eager to participate were quick to comply. Homeowners associations were contacted and instructed to obtain proper permission. To the delight of the neighborhood patrons, business restrictions were lifted to allow for food truck service. Berkeley’s Green and First Colony were one of the first neighborhoods to benefit from this innovative approach and now several neighborhoods have midweek visits from area food trucks.

This service provides a variety of choices for families and helps maintain social distancing. The ABC laws were adjusted to permit pre-order delivery of alcohol for a first time as well. These changes have granted companies like FoodaTude, Alewerks, Matchsticks BBQ, Virginia Blue Crab, and Nosh access to customers who may otherwise have more limited food choices. Shirley’s involvement is simply an outward expression of her personal mission statement to, “perpetually pursue togetherness.” Shirley adds that it is encouraging to work with Jon Wade, co-owner of Two Drummers, as he was part of the first entertainment act she booked thirteen years ago for a private event.

At her prompting, a recent community conversation took place to specifically identify what needs can be met while 2nd Sundays are on hold. Celebrating diversity and inclusion are integral parts of her service-based mission as Shirley’s efforts “have now shaped an official not-for-profit called Love Light Placemaking. It will house 2nd Sundays Williamsburg going forward, a house concert series, and lots of collaborations with many wonderful businesses, organizations, and other non-profits to continue weaving community in Williamsburg.”  You can find more information and stay up to date with Shirley’s not-for-profit on Facebook at Love Light Placemaking or email at lovelightplacemaking@gmail.com.

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