The Washington Nationals are working with chef Jose Andres’ global nonprofit to turn the D.C. baseball stadium into a community kitchen to help those in need during this time.
While Nationals Park is under a city-owned lease, and must be used for sports and entertainment only, the city signed off on a plan led by the team’s newly established charity arm, Nationals Philanthropies, and led by World Central Kitchen. Two large kitchens will be created at the park to deliver thousands of meals in local areas. Uber Eats drivers will distribute the hot meals. Nationals Philanthropies will also work to help get dinners to pubic housing in the Navy Yard and Southwest Waterfront neighborhoods, as well as the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy in Fort Dupot.
Earlier this week, 1,000 meals went out per day, and now, production is expected to increase to 5,000 meals a day. As the recipient list continues to grow with people in underserved Ward 7 and Ward 8, as well as the homless populations around the city, Nationals Park aims to serve tens of thousands of meals each day. Throughout the day, packaged meals in insulated containers will go to drivers, who will then send the food around the city.
“We are stewards of this public building — it’s not used to play baseball now, so how can we use it in the best way possible?” Nationals vice president of experience and hospitality Jonathan Stahl said in a statement to DC Eater.
Stahl noted that partnering with WCK was a “no brainer” since the building will help efficiently produce food to those in need.
In addition to the community kitchen, Nationals Philanthropies started a new $100,000 fund to provide grants to third parties that are helping feed those in crisis. Following donations from fans, Nationals personnel, and other foundations, the fund has hit $256,000.
Currently, baseball season is stalled. While spring training was supposed to start in March, the league may not begin games until later this summer. Earlier this week, the league reportedly considered putting all teams in the Phoenix area and playing empty ballparks, starting in May. At this time, no official word of the league’s starting date has been confirmed.