The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation on Tuesday joined volunteers to assemble Thanksgiving food baskets for in-need residents at the annual Harvest Feast presented by Ryan Homes.
For the 14th straight year, the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation hosted the annual Harvest Feast presented by Ryan Homes at FedExField in Landover, Md. With assistance from Redskins alumni, players and staff, – along with the joint efforts of Ryan Homes, SHOPPERS® Food & Pharmacy, FedEx, Performance Foodservice of Maryland and Coca-Cola – roughly 90,000 pounds of packaged food and 30,000 pounds of turkey was distributed to 2,500 families in need in Prince George’s County.
The event would not have been possible without the assistance of more than 300 volunteers who packaged and distributed all food products throughout Monday and Tuesday.
With the idea of helping families in need in Prince George’s County, the Redskins started the event 2003 and have since gifted more than 1,152,335 pounds of packaged and fresh food and 490,500 pounds of turkey to area families in need.
“This was launched because it means so much to us to be here at FedExField in Prince George’s County and to be able to be part of the community and give back,” Redskins owner Dan Snyder said. “We’ve got some great players and great people to volunteer today to really give back to the community that we love here in Prince George’s County.”
“The truth is, Harvest Feast provides a meal for Thanksgiving for 2,500 households, but that’s more like 10,000 people that are touched by this, many of whom get up every day and go to work, just like you and I, who are struggling to feed their families and find some sense of stability in these trying times and it’s important to remember that,” said Gloria Brown, director of Prince George’s County Social Services. “It’s important to remember that many of us lived as one or two paychecks away from instability. One house fire, one weather related issue, one unplanned surgery could mean a visit to the Department of Social Services for help and so that’s why we think it’s important that the community is a part of this effort and the partnerships are so important, because it’s community that stabilizes our nation.”
As families entered the concourse level of FedExField, they passed through different stations with canned goods and beverages.
No Thanksgiving meal is complete without a turkey, though, as current Redskins players Houston Bates, Pierre Garçon, Ryan Grant, DeSean Jackson, Shawn Lauvao, Colt McCoy, Josh Norman and Joey Mbu provided turkeys at the final pit stop.
“The more we can do in the community, especially to make someone’s Thanksgiving a little bit better, is important,” Garçon said. “Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays that we have, so for us to make it better is definitely a good feeling.”
Garçon added that everyone was very happy with the contributions the Redskins were making to get their holiday season started on the right foot.
“They were very thankful and happy to get these turkeys and be in this area with us and we’re happy to be with them,” Garçon said.
Flanking Garçon to his left in the line was Norman, who felt the same warm embraces from fans that he experiences on game days when the Redskins are playing at FedExField.
“It is so sweet to see,” Norman said. “Look at all of these bright faces. These bright faces make you feel good with what you’re doing. I always love giving back. I give back to my hometown all the time, and to see everybody here in [the DMV] with their faces lighting up makes this day worthwhile.”
Jackson was “very thankful” for the opportunity to participate in this year’s Harvest Feast.
“To be able to give some goods, turkeys and really just see a lot of fans come out and put smiles on their face, to help them (is awesome)," Jackson said. "Every year [the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation] does a great job of touching communities and the less unfortunate, really just helping. I can’t be happy enough to come out, give my time on the off day to put smiles on fans faces … and give them a gift that will help their families out."