WASHINGTON -- The Nationals Dream Foundation will make a $100,000 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank in order to help the thousands of federal government workers, contractors and recipients of social services in the D.C. area affected by the partial federal government shutdown.The Capital Area Food Bank has expanded
WASHINGTON -- The Nationals Dream Foundation will make a $100,000 donation to the Capital Area Food Bank in order to help the thousands of federal government workers, contractors and recipients of social services in the D.C. area affected by the partial federal government shutdown.
The Capital Area Food Bank has expanded its efforts to help feed those in need during what has been the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, which reached its 34th day Thursday. During the past month, the organization has seen a 20-percent increase in the number of meals it needs, roughly an additional 600,000 meals, and opened pop-up shops to help with distribution. The donation from the Nationals is expected to fund a quarter of a million meals for local families and people who have been affected.
"We see it as a responsibility to help our fellow citizens, particularly in a time of acute need," Tal Alter, the chief executive officer of the Nationals Dream Foundation and Youth Baseball Academy, said in a statement. "Local residents have experienced many difficulties due to the partial government shutdown, access to healthy food foremost among them. The Capital Area Food Bank has served our community for almost four decades and is the largest organization in the Washington metro area working to solve hunger, making them an obvious partner.
"We believe in the collective power of the extended Nationals family to make a positive impact, and we hope our efforts will alleviate some of the hardships people in our community are experiencing right now."
It is not the first measure the Nationals have taken to aid federal workers during this difficult stretch. Earlier this month, the club sent out an email to season-ticket holders announcing that employees or spouses of federal agencies affected by the shutdown will be able to postpone their monthly ticket payments that were due at the start of January. If the shutdown continues, the email states payments will also be pushed back in February and March.
More than 800,000 workers nationwide have been affected by this shutdown, and it especially hit those in the Washington metro area. The Capital Area Food Bank partners with nearly 450 organizations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, and it estimates that it helps nearly half a million people each year receive access to good, healthy food.
And on Thursday, the Nationals wanted to offer some help. The team is encouraging its fans, partners and community to join in as well, so the Nats have created a website (www.nationals.com/foodbank) for those interested in making a donation.
"We know that when budgets are stretched tight, food is often the first thing to go -- and that's especially true during this time when thousands of our neighbors are experiencing unexpected need," Radha Muthiah, president and CEO of the Capital Area Food Bank, said in a statement. "We're inspired and grateful for the leadership role that the Washington Nationals are playing by stepping up to ensure we can meet the increased demand for food in our community."
Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.