Friday, May 21, 2010

2010 Washington Nationals Annual Food Drive

"Here in America, we have a crisis that a lot of people are not aware of--and that’s in the working family," stated The Food Network's Paula Deen. "The families that are out trying to do for themselves, and do better, but by the time they go to the grocery store--that part of their check has shrunk."

"The Queen Of Southern Cuisine" was standing just outside Nationals Park's Center Field Gate on Wednesday May 19th, 2010. As spokesperson for Smithfield Food, Ms. Deen, members from Our Washington Nationals, Harris-Teeter Grocery Stores and The Capital Area Food Bank were unloading a semi-truck of Smithfield hams. Protein to be given to The Capital Food Bank as a Kick-Off to this weekend's Annual Food Drive at Nationals Park.

"I just have this love of feeding people. And I can’t stand the thoughts of anyone being hungry." continued Ms. Deen.

According to Capital Area Food Bank statistics, 636,000 folks in the Greater Washington, D.C. area are in risk of hunger each day. And 47% of those are children. In fact, one out of every two children in the District of Columbia is at risk of hunger. So the need is great and major donations, like this one from Smithfield, are needed to fill a vast void.

“We do this because there is an obvious need there. It’s Smithfield’s chance to give back," believes Dennis Pittman, Director of Corporate Communications for Smithfield. "The people who come to these food banks each and every day are our customers. Their parents were our customers and their grandparents were our customers. These are the people who shop at Harris-Teeter the first two weeks of the month and by the end of the month--they need a little help. This is where our partners, like Harris Teeter, come in and work with the food banks--helping people stretch that money to cover the entire month."

Protein is the least donated product to The Capital Area Food Bank, meaning Smithfield's truckload of hams will go along way toward satisfying the over 700 Agencies that work with food bank on a daily basis to provide Senior Brown Bags, The Kids Cafe's and Weekend Bags for the over 470,000 served by the NE Washington charitable organization.

Pitchers John Lannan & Sean Burnett and three First Ladies from Our Washington Nationals (Maryanne Garry-John's Girlfriend, Jessica Burnett & Rachel Dunn--Adam's wife) joined Paula Deen for approximately 30 minutes to unload the Smithfield Truck and bring awareness to not only the cause but the upcoming Annual Food Drive at Nationals Park. In these tough economic times, many families have been hit hard in the pocket book. And this weekend when The Baltimore Orioles come to South Capitol Street, fans are encouraged to bring any non-perishable food items to Center Field Gate for drop off on May 22nd and May 23rd. All items to be distributed to The Capital Area Food Bank for their many needy programs.

"We are finding that there are a lot of people who were donators in year’s past..." concluded Paula Deen. "..that are now recipients of the food bank. It’s scary, It really is."

So if you can help, please drop off your non-perishable food donations this weekend at Nationals Park on May 22nd & 23rd. Items can be left at Center Field Gate beginning when the gates open for both games--and continue through the end of the 4th inning.

PS--After the conclusion of the event, Paula Deen shot a special Public Service TV Announcement with John Lannan and Sean Burnett by her side. There was a funny moment when Ms. Deen messed up reading the script at one point and Sean Burnett said something off the cuff about her miscue. Everyone started laughing and Paula Deen playfully slapped Sean and told him to "HUSH, Ya'll!" Her accent made the comment even better.

All Photos Copyrighted--Nats320--All Rights Reserved

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