On Thursday afternoon, Nationals players Willie Harris, Wil Nieves and Alberto Gonzalez visited the Capital Area Food Bank to help with meal preparation for hungry families in Washington D.C. They were joined by their wives, Trey Harris, Yormarie Nieves and Elaine Gonzalez.
Founded in 1980, the Food Bank is the largest supplier of food to those suffering from hunger in the Washington metro area. With a network of over 700 feeding programs and direct service programs, the Capital Area Food Bank distributes close to 26 million pounds of food to hungry families every year.
“I am here for the kids that don’t have food and need it,” said infielder Alberto Gonzalez. “I am happy to be here [to help].”
During their visit, the Nationals packed over 600 bags of food as part of the Weekend Bag program, a service that provides food to children who do not have access to school meals.
“We are here to help the kids,” said Yormarie Nieves, wife of catcher Wil Nieves.
“We are so blessed, especially right now, because I am expecting [a child]. To imagine my baby without food, no way. This is for kids and for me, it’s very important. It’s not just baseball. We have plenty of time during the day to do this kind of stuff. It’s important to share this time with my husband to help these kids.”
The Nationals will also be collecting nonperishable food items during their annual Food Drive scheduled for May 22 and May 23 at Nationals Park. Fans may donate food at the Center Field Gates through the 4th inning.
The Food Bank’s Chief Development Officer Christel Allen Hair encouraged fans to donate food, but also to consider taking a tour of the facility or signing up to volunteer. She is grateful that the Washington Nationals continue to raise awareness about hunger in the community.
“We’re always in need of food, funds and friends and this exposure will get other folks involved,” said Hair.
“We did it last year and we enjoyed it, so when they asked us to come back here, obviously we said yes,” said catcher Wil Nieves. “We like to do whatever we can to help the community. It’s going to help a lot of people put food on their table. To be able to help them to do so is a blessing for us.”
To learn how you can help, visit www.capitalareafoodbank.org.
More photos from today’s event are available on MASN’s Facebook page.