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Nats continue tradition, help Food and Friends

MLB.com @JamalCollier

WASHINGTON -- Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, his wife, Heather, and members of the organization's front office helped prepare Thanksgiving meals at the team's annual volunteer outing at Food and Friends on Tuesday.

This was the 11th year the Nats volunteered at Food and Friends, continuing what has become a team tradition. Zimmerman and others spent time prepping, chopping, portioning and packaging holiday meals for clients with life-changing illnesses.

WASHINGTON -- Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman, his wife, Heather, and members of the organization's front office helped prepare Thanksgiving meals at the team's annual volunteer outing at Food and Friends on Tuesday.

This was the 11th year the Nats volunteered at Food and Friends, continuing what has become a team tradition. Zimmerman and others spent time prepping, chopping, portioning and packaging holiday meals for clients with life-changing illnesses.

Food and Friends serves people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other illnesses throughout the Washington Metropolitan area. The organization works to provide home-delivered meals, groceries and nutrition counseling to people and their families.

Tweet from @Nationals: Feels great to give back this #ThanksgivingWeek 😊#Nats staff joined our friends at @foodandfriends to pack meals. pic.twitter.com/v8VciO0xeb

Zimmerman lives in the area during the offseason, and there is perhaps no Nats player with greater local ties. He went to high school in Virginia Beach and played baseball at the University of Virginia before becoming the first Draft pick in Washington Nationals history in 2005. He and his wife have become a fixture in the area since then, which includes his work with the ziMS foundation for multiple sclerosis.

Food and Friends was founded in 1988 and began serving people with HIV/AIDS because of how often that group had been ostracized and its limited access to nutritional food. The group expanded in 2000 to include help for other patients who are medically compromised. Although there is no income requirement, most of those patients in the D.C. area are under the poverty line.

This has become an annual tradition for the Nationals each winter, gathering around 30 or more members of their staff to spend the day putting together boxes filled with turkeys and stuffing to help out.

Jamal Collier has covered the Nationals for MLB.com since 2016. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

Washington Nationals