The Washington, DC area is full of amazing moms. There are working moms, stay-at-home moms, single moms, moms of multiples, foster moms, adoptive moms, etc. We want to highlight some of those moms like Lydia Russo! Each month we will feature one special mom as the mom of the month. Know a fellow amazing local mom here? Nominate them here!
Meet our September Mom of the Month: Lydia Russo
Lydia was born and raised in the DMV and has always been proud to call Vienna, VA her home. She has a career in marketing and social media for her own real estate company, Lydia Real Estate LLC, as well as working freelance digital marketing for various small businesses. In 2019, she and her friends decided to create a Facebook group dedicated to highlighting local restaurants, called the “Vienna VA Foodies” Facebook group, but during the pandemic, it grew to be so much more. It was essentially a lifeline to all the businesses in the Town of Vienna, and together, she and the thousands of generous members were able to keep many businesses afloat during the darkest of days. They have raised thousands of dollars for struggling businesses and food insecure families, which paved the way for One Neighborhood Foundation. One Neighborhood Foundation is a local non-profit which supports restaurants and provides meals to frontliners, first responders, essential workers, local heroes, and food insecure families.
Today, Lydia balances it all while being a momma to her seven-month baby, Giovanni.
Here is our Q&A with Lydia Russo:
1. What prompted you to start One Neighborhood Foundation during the pandemic?
In the beginning, all we simply wanted to do was take photos of the dishes we were enjoying at restaurants & share with others the ‘good eats’ we found within our town.
But during the pandemic, no one was going out & everyone was hunkered inside.
Businesses were all sharing their worries that would possibly not make it through all the closures and shutdowns.
Reading this, I was inspired to make a post asking if Foodies wanted to help fundraise to provide first responders with meals from local restaurants— the response was incredible! We ended up covering breakfast, lunch, and dinner for several weeks… actually, months! Then, we began helping other groups (local heroes, frontline workers). Now we focus primarily on food insecure families in the area.
2. What skills from your experience as a realtor/marketing best prepared you for this non-profit venture? What skills and experience did you seek out to learn from others?
Since I was a little girl, my mother always taught me to have empathy for others and I carry that lesson with me everyday.
Many times in the Foodie group, we’ve gone off subject to help a person, family, or group in need just because so many of the foodies also have incredible empathy as well.
The Vienna Foodies group/One Neighborhood Foundation really is a place where some of the most kind, considerate people come together.
There is a common understanding within the group to promote, highlight, and cheerlead local businesses and foodies, and to always think of others.
3. What advice do you have for women looking to start a non-profit?
You can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t be nervous, don’t hesitate. Life is so short and if you have something your yearning to do, do it. If you think you can’t do it alone, you’ll be surprised— so many people usually want to help. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance.
When I started arranging food deliveries, I was getting dozens and dozens of people offering their help, there’s no way I could accomplish everything without the help of others, and because of that—- something beautiful has been created. Something I never imagined, a 501(c)(3) organization, One Neighborhood Foundation!
4. How can others get involved?
I highly recommend joining the Vienna VA Foodies Facebook group, we are constantly sharing opportunities to help the community and neighboring areas in the group.
It’s more than just a food group, really. You will have to join the group to see it for yourself!
Do you know an amazing mom? Nominate a mom of the month here!