Archive for the ‘ Week of Thanks ’ Category

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.”

Wrapping Up Our #NatsWeekOfThanks

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We hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend with your families as we all gave thanks for the meaningful people in our lives. Many of you also offered terrific submissions in our Week of Thanks contest, and after careful consideration, we have picked our winning entry:

“I am thankful to be part of a large, loving family. My parents recently celebrated their 66th wedding anniversary. My husband & I have been married for 37 years. I have 5 younger siblings & numerous nieces & nephews. We are spread across this beautiful country that is protected by our wonderful military, but one thing we all have in common is baseball. We may cheer for different teams, but the game itself is magic! When you walk through the gate at a baseball stadium, all your worries stay outside. A feeling of euphoria envelopes you & you’re free from troubles. Baseball can put a smile on your face and a song in your heart regardless of what’s going on in you[r] life. I am so thankful for that!”

–       Joy Bolick

Congratulations to Joy and her family, who have won the opportunity to take their holiday photo here at Nationals Park! Thanks to everyone else who took part in the contest for sharing your kind words and helping spread the spirit of Thanksgiving.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: Fans

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You’ve given blood. You’ve donated food. You’ve stood up and honored our military at 81 home games.

We are so incredibly thankful to have fans that have supported not only the team on the field, but the community as well. With your help, we’ve been able to use this great game that we all love to give back. To give more.

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That wraps up our #NatsWeekOfThanks. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, and to get your final entries in for a chance to have your family’s holiday photo taken on the field at Nationals Park, click here.

Enjoy your holiday season. Spring training will be here before you know it. 

#NatsWeekOfThanks: TAPS

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Military outreach is one of the top priorities for the Washington Nationals, and as such we have had a longstanding relationship with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). The Washington Nationals are thankful for the wonderful people who make TAPS such an indispensable resource for the military community.

TAPS is the 24/7 tragedy assistance resource for anyone who has suffered the loss of a military loved one. The organization provides comfort and care through comprehensive services and programs, including peer-based emotional support, casework assistance, connections to community-based care, and grief and trauma resources.

As our community dealt with the aftermath of the shooting at the Navy Yard in September, many looked for ways to help. As they did for the contract workers at the Pentagon who were affected by 9/11, TAPS looked to help affected families by raising money for the Navy Yard Tragedy Family Support Fund.

Working in coordination with TAPS, we set up a weeklong online auction for the patriotic jerseys worn by the team during the first game of the Sept. 17 doubleheader against Atlanta. The auction raised more than $60,000 to assist those who lost a loved one at the Navy Yard through support programs and casework assistance.

We are thanking the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, please visit and stay connected on Twitter at @TAPS4America.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: Food and Friends

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A group of Washington Nationals employees spent Monday morning volunteering at Food and Friends.

A group of Washington Nationals employees spent Monday morning volunteering at Food and Friends.

In what has become an annual tradition, earlier today a group of Washington Nationals employees volunteered at Food and Friends to prepare Thanksgiving meals for families in need this holiday season.

The Washington Nationals are thankful for the work that Food and Friends does — not just during the holidays, but throughout the year. The organization serves more than 1 million meals to clients throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses.

During Thanksgiving week, Food and Friends adds another 3,500 meals onto their usual workload.

Each prepared meal will serve four people and includes a 10-12 lb turkey, sides and pie for dessert. Throughout the morning, front office staff performed tasks like thawing, preparing and cooking turkeys, assembling side portions, and packaging full meals to be delivered.

We are thanking Food and Friends as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on Food and Friends, please visit and get updates on Twitter at @foodandfriends.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: WWAST

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Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team

image (3)Since we started working with them in 2011, the Washington Nationals have been awed by the intense dedication and strength of character demonstrated by the members of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. We are so thankful and proud to be able to help share their stories through events like the Wounded Warrior Celebrity Softball Classic.

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team is a group of veterans and active duty military members from across the United States, each of whom has lost a limb while serving our country. Using the latest in prosthetic technology, the WWAST travels the country playing only able-bodied teams as they strive to prove that “life without a limb is limitless,” and that the road to recovery – no matter how long – can lead to a full and satisfying life for veterans and their families.

We are thanking the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, please visit and follow them on Twitter at @WWAmpSoftball.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: DCPS

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'42' ScreeningThe Washington Nationals are grateful to work with partners that are seeking new ways to make a positive impact on youth in our communities. Our  friends at DC Public Schools (DCPS) are dedicated to furthering the education of area students – both in and out of the classroom.

Last May, Major League Baseball and the Washington Nationals hosted two private screenings of the movie “42” for 400 D.C. Public School students. Recognizing the social value of educating future generations about Jackie Robinson’s impact beyond the baseball diamond, DCPS jumped at the unique opportunity.

The high school students were able to view the movie free of charge and share their experiences online via In addition, a panel discussion with Nationals President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, Mike Rizzo, centerfielder Denard Span and First Base Coach Tony Tarasco followed each screening, where students asked questions about the challenges of being a professional athlete, the impact of Jackie Robinson, and battling racial prejudice, both on and off the field.

We are thanking DCPS as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on DC Public Schools, please visit and follow them on Twitter at @dcpublicschools.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: Children’s National Medical Center

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Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center

060513-141 childrens hospThis past June, we saw a dream seven years in the making come true when the Washington Nationals Diabetes Care Complex at Children’s National Medical Center opened its doors. The Washington Nationals and the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation are thankful for all who made this dream possible, especially those at Children’s National. More than just a hospital wing, the Diabetes Care Complex serves as an educational hub where children and their families can receive nutritional and physical education to help in their fight with this disease. We are privileged that, through this partnership, we can help children with diabetes live long, happy lives.

We are thanking Children’s National Medical Center as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on Children’s National Medical Center, visit or get updates on Twitter by following @childrenshealth.

#NatsWeekOfThanks: USO Metro

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USO Metropolitan Washington

Me and a Friend2The Washington Nationals are thankful for all that USO Metropolitan Washington does to help the more than 500,000 military families in the area. While we work together in a number of areas, we’re particularly proud of the Me and a Friend program, developed in 2010 in coordination with the Department of Defense.

Military children face unique social challenges as their parents are frequently reassigned. Many times, these moves occur during the summer months, making it harder for kids to make connections with peers. For every Sunday home game the Nationals provide 100 tickets to military children through the USO’s Ticketline program, giving them the opportunity to invite a new friend. This special group receives a visit from Screech, scoreboard recognition and first-in-line privileges for Kids Run the Bases.

We are thanking the USO Metropolitan Washington as part of our Week of Thanks. For more on #NatsWeekOfThanks, click here.

For more information on USO Metropolitan Washington, visit or follow the organization on Twitter at @USOMetroDC.

Week of Thanks

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As we prepare to gather with friends and family next week to celebrate Thanksgiving, this time of year provides a natural forum for personal reflection. We here at the Washington Nationals have been doing just that recently – thinking of all we have to be thankful for this holiday season – as we continue the countdown to Opening Day 2014.

Over the course of the next week, we plan to share some of the reasons we are thankful, with stories about the people and organizations that have made a truly meaningful impact in our community.

And, in the spirit of the season, we’re asking you to do the same.

Tell us what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving and be entered to win a chance to take your family’s holiday photo on the field at Nationals Park!

All you have to do is let us know who or what you’re thankful for, and why, in the comment section below. Please keep your entry under 150 words, and be sure to check back to see what your fellow Nationals fans are thankful for this year.


What we’re thankful for this year:

USO Metropolitan Washington

Children’s National Medical Center

DC Public Schools

Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team

Food and Friends

Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS)

Kyle’s Kamp