A local church in Alexandria, Virginia, gave out nearly 600 hot meals to first responders and law enforcement across the city as a thank you for keeping residents safe during the pandemic. The first stop was Fire Station 204 on Second Street. There, Reverend Zina Jacque from Alfred Street Baptist Church greeted Fire Chief Corey Smedley with 70 Styrofoam containers of pulled pork and pulled chicken and sides from Rocklands BBQ. According to wtop.com, "This is special this year because we very much wanted to bless these men and women who have kept us safe during this period of unprecedented need,” said Jacque. COVID-19 numbers are surging in Virginia and hospitalizations numbers are rising as well, though not as high as previous surges during the pandemic. As of Thursday, 1,923 people were hospitalized with COVID in the commonwealth." As per wtop.com, "The fast-moving Omicron variant is causing an additional strain on first responders. Fire Chief Corey Smedley said the department is facing a staffing shortage, with 30 firefighters and EMT’s home sick out of a 280 person workforce. “It’s really special to know that people are caring enough to take time out of their day…they are dealing with COVID and other things in their life…and they are helping us,” said Smedley. “We just really appreciate that."