Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman joins front office staff to volunteer at Food & Friends

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by Amanda Comak

As Ryan Zimmerman and his wife, Heather, wrapped turkeys in aluminum foil on Tuesday morning, the Washington Nationals infielder looked around the kitchen. Volunteers and employees bustled around the Food & Friends facility on Riggs Road in Northeast Washington, D.C., and as Zimmerman and his wife helped prepare Thanksgiving meals, he took in the scene.

“It’s pretty amazing to see how many people help,” Zimmerman said after he finished his turkey-wrapping duties. “We met one couple who works here every Tuesday.”

The Zimmermans joined roughly 20 front office employees in volunteering at Food & Friends, helping to prepare and package Thanksgiving meals for many in need.

This was the seventh year that the Nationals visited Food & Friends, continuing the team’s tradition of assisting the organization in its effort to provide home-delivered meals, groceries and nutrition counseling to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other illnesses throughout the Washington Metropolitan area.

“A lot of people aren’t as fortunate and don’t have a Thanksgiving, really, to speak of,” Zimmerman said. “For them to get a meal for four or five people, I can only imagine what it means to them. It’s fun to be able to come and help them.”

While they helped package approximately 60 cooked turkeys in one hour, the Zimmermans won’t be making the traditional feast themselves this Thanksgiving holiday. They will travel with their 1-year-old daughter, Mackenzie, from their Virginia home to visit family.

But before they departed, they recognized the importance of giving back to their community.

“We packed some big turkeys,” Zimmerman said with a laugh. “It made me hungry.”

“We did a ‘Friendsgiving’ one year where we had friends over, and we cooked the turkey,” Heather Zimmerman said. “It came out perfect. So, we went out on top, and we’ve never made a turkey again.”

As for the hamstring that sidelined Zimmerman through much of the season’s second half, the infielder said he’s feeling strong and should begin his usual offseason training soon.

“I’ve done a lot of resting,” Zimmerman said. “I’m good and rested. I’ll probably start my routine next week.”

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