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Military, Washington Wizards join efforts to feed needy

  • Published
  • By Nick Simeone
  • DoD News, Defense Media Activity
Members of the U.S. military joined players from the Washington Wizards and area students Oct. 21, at the Capital Area Food Bank to prepare more than 1,000 meals for needy children and families.

The project was one of the first events of the military’s “Commitment to Service” initiative with the NBA, which is focused on building a culture of service by meeting the needs of local communities.

“It’s about bringing Americans together in a way that will both serve our military and serve our community,” said Rene C. Bardorf, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for community and public outreach, as she oversaw the preparation of meals at the large warehouse.

The “Commitment to Service” initiative aims to build stronger and more compassionate communities through projects such as this one. Defense Department officials also credit collaboration with the NBA, including its “NBA Cares” program, as well as USA Basketball’s “Hoops for Troops,” for providing ways to assist service members as they transition from the military.

“The NBA has been wonderful to us over the last 13 years as we’ve gone through these wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now … we feel like the relationship has evolved to one where we’ll go out together and partner with one another to serve our communities and empower those in the community to serve with us,” Bardorf said.

Gen. Larry O. Spencer, Air Force vice chief of staff, was among members of the military on hand for the event, which he described as another way in which those in uniform can work with the NBA to show appreciation.

“They’re committed to basketball, we’re committed to national defense,” Spencer said “Both of us have a little different focus but there’s one thing we have in common: we both want to give back to the community.”

The Wizards’ Garrett Temple agreed and said, “With the hunger issue, it’s such a big thing not only in D.C. and the nation but worldwide so helping out is definitely a big deal.”