11.27.2012 / Blog Posts Community Redskins
Pam Erickson and Britni Capps, Operation Blessing
On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, WOW members joined over 200 volunteers to be a part of the 10th annual “Harvest Feast” community food distribution event, held at FedExField and hosted by the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation. On this day, the hearts of these incredible volunteers were paired with a laser-guided focus on helping their neighbors and the outcome was nothing short of incredible.
From early in the morning until sunset, volunteers and staff members from the Washington Redskins & Operation Blessing worked tirelessly to bag holiday groceries for 3,500 families in Prince Georges County. Thousands of pounds of fresh produce, dry and canned products, children’s items, Mary Kay women’s bags and fresh turkeys sat, ready to be distributed to the families in need. At the “dry products” station, volunteers opened cases of product such as canned vegetables and cranberry sauce and stuffing while others placed the selected items in bags being carried by even more volunteers who would then tie the filled bags and place them on tables. At the produce station, volunteers dipped into crates of fresh onions, sweet potatoes and white potatoes to fill and tie thousands of bags. At the children’s station, volunteers enjoyed loading bags with items such as toys, snacks, candy, and to provide the children with lots of fun things to do, a Redskins Activity Book was also included. The volunteers at the turkey station got lots of exercise and cold hands loading one large turkey into each bag.
Finally, the women’s product, a station added to the event just a few years ago, was where the WOW team found its home for the day. The product had been donated to Operation Blessing by Mary Kay Inc. and the Women of Washington Redskins spent the afternoon packing items such as special lotions, a variety of nail polishes and foot scrubs into large, beautiful pink bags.
Not only was the day a great opportunity for team-building, but it also provided each volunteer a chance to work together for the purpose of demonstrating compassion for families struggling through difficult financial times. The event offered a time for volunteers to connect with the people they were serving through lots of smiles, hugs, and sweet conversations. Some volunteers heard first-hand accounts from moms and grandmothers worried about providing meals for their families, while others had tears well up in their eyes as they learned about hard times people were having to endure.
Despite some of the sad stories, there was great joy and celebration as bags were exchanged from the hearts and hands of the volunteers to the hearts and hands of thankful families, who also received new found hope at the event. Their worries for the moment had been lifted and relief covered the faces of those leaving with their arms full of groceries for their Thanksgiving meal. Children that attended the event were beaming from ear to ear as they carried their specially-prepared bags themselves. One of the most rewarding times came when the women were given their own special bags filled with those “frilly” things that females love. In addition to the contents of the bag, each woman received a much more important gift that day; The message that beauty comes from within the heart of women and the value of their lives to friends, family and special loved ones is priceless.
As the event drew to a close, each volunteer that left FedExField carried with them their own story to tell. The theme would surely center on the heartfelt benefits of people helping people. That’s what loving your neighbor is all about.
For more information on Operation Blessing, visit www.OB.org.
View more photos on our photos page or visit Facebook.com/WOWRedskins.
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