Whether she’s helping her 6-year-old with homework or trying to potty-train her 2-year-old son, every hour of the day is critical for Shamia Stoney.
“My day doesn’t end until 9 o’clock,” said Stoney, 25, who shuttles between her job as a security guard and raising two children in Southeast Washington. “I am a single mother with two kids, and it is extremely hard on my end.”
Although Stoney faces many challenges, having a Thanksgiving dinner is not one of them, thanks to Washington Redskins free safety Dashon Goldson and some of his defensive teammates, who joined the Suitland High School football team for an off-field effort.
The Redskins worked with the Capital Area Food Bank and the Faith Based Collaborative Outreach Group to distribute turkeys, boxes of stuffing and other holiday meal items to 200 families in the Suitland area.
Prince George’s County Council member Karen R. Toles (D-District 7) and Schools Superintendent Kevin Maxwell also came to Suitland for the event, which is part of an ongoing effort to assist families who have “food insecurities” even though they have full-time jobs.
“You have many people who are working every day but they are struggling to make ends meet,” Toles said. “They struggle to feed their families; they struggle with day care.”
Claudia B.-Walter, chairman and chief executive of Faith Based Collaborative Outreach Group, said the players went to the school because “Suitland High School is functioning as a community hub to provide food and resources to the student body, their families, its feeder schools and the community.”
Although the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation partners with Harris Teeter, FedEx and the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services to give out tons of food at FedEx Field every year, Goldson came up with this idea and recruited nine other defensive players, including fellow free safety DeAngelo Hall.
During the Redskins’ 47-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 15, Goldson intercepted a pass by Drew Brees and ran 36 yards for a touchdown. The next day at Suitland High, he was focused on helping the lines of people coming into the school’s auditorium.
“This is just the way I grew up,” said Goldson, a native of Los Angeles. “I have always had a heart for people, and I am blessed and established where I can give back to the community. This is one of my favorite holidays, and I think that everybody should eat. . . . It’s a no-brainer for me.”
Hall said he was glad to take part in the distribution because “we are all from communities similar to this.”
Redskins cornerback Dashaun Phillips said that he could relate to the people on the other side of the table as he passed out food.
“I remember Thanksgivings where I didn’t have a lot,” he said. “So it means a lot to give back.”
Tevin Singleton, who plays for Suitland, said the presence of so many Redskins players was “really a blessing.”
May Bell has fed as many as 50 people in her home for Thanksgiving in years past. But this year, Bell said, getting a turkey and other items is a blessing.
“I was recently diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, and this is one less thing that I have to worry about,” she said.