If that’s a picture of Albert Haynesworth standing in front of a mountain of turkeys — and it is — then it must be the day of the Harris Teeter-Redskins Harvest Feast Presented By Ryan Homes. This is the third Harvest Feast I’ve attended (the eighth year it has been held), and it impresses me every single year: more than 3,500 turkeys are distributed to Prince George’s County residents in need by members of the Redskins and 400 corporate volunteers.
“It’s estimated that this will feed 21,000 Prince George’s County residents in need,” Tanya Snyder — wife of owner Daniel Snyder — explained.
It’s an enormous undertaking, and a huge stretch of the concourse at FedExField is broken down into stations for people to walk through and receive bags of dry goods, of kids food, of produce, and — at the end — a turkey.
Each station is manned by assorted volunteers, including Redskins players; at the early stations people receiving bags just go up and take their bags from whomever they’d like, and they often pose for pictures with the players after they’ve received their food. At the turkeys, though, the mass is run through feeder lines, each of which ends in a slightly different place served by a small group of volunteers, so people occasionally try to select the line that corresponds to whichever player they most want to interact with.
If the media at the event had been offered a choice, every single one of them would’ve been in Haynesworth’s line, but the fans weren’t quite so uniform. While plenty of them elected to get a turkey from the big defensive lineman, plenty passed up the big-ticket 2009 free agent signing for a much less-known player: cornerback Kevin Barnes.
“I grew up most of my childhood in this area, went to college here, now I’m blessed to be playing for the Redskins. It’s great to be back in the community — a lot of people around here followed me in high school and college and they’re rooting for me,” Barnes explained.
Barnes grew up in nearby Glen Burnie, and the fact that the food being distributed was going back an area not far from where he was raised gave the event some special significance for Barnes. “It definitely adds something,” Barnes said. “Being that I grew up in this community, I know the ins and outs more than anybody on our team. I know the people that I grew up with, not everybody comes from the best situations, so it’s an honor to be able to help out back here.”
In the end, though, Barnes says that it’s about giving back to the fans no matter where they’re from. “Anything we can do to help the community — I mean, these are our fans,” Barnes said. “These are the people who come out, root for us, win, lose, draw, so anything we can do to help out, we’re gonna do.”
Tags: harvest feast, Kevin Barnes, tanya snyder
Posted in General | 1 Comment »