By Aaron Wyche, Viva Loudoun
Original Article – January 4, 2015
Sterling, VA (Jan. 4, 2015) – During the holiday season, it’s not uncommon to witness a line of hundreds of people camped outside a storefront eagerly awaiting it’s doors to open. Although, with no major electronic chains or retail superstores to anchor the Cascades Marketplace in Sterling, VA, a barricaded street to accommodate such a line that wrapped around the building may spark one’s curiosity.
On a mild mid-December evening such an event took place. The draw of the evening was pizza; not just any pizza, but Dons’ Wood Fired Pizza served by Washington Redskins players! This year’s servers were Redskin favorites, Alfred Morris, Kedric Golston, Logan Paulsen, Shawn Lauvao, Trent Murphy, Spencer Long,
and Isaako Aaitui.
The free Christmas dinner was sponsored to support the Open Heart Foundation, an organization whose mission is to help impoverished people improve their quality of life through academic, vocational and spiritual training. Open Heart uses the “teach a man to fish” philosophy to help people around the world obtain a better education, learn job skills and become business owners. Contributions have led to the establishment of 40 churches and a K-12 vocational school system across Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The evening’s host and owner of Dons’, Waleed Zarou has sponsored this benefit for 6 years now. “I believe in directing one’s energies upwards,” Zarou said. “With so many blessings, it’s (our) responsibility to give back to both empower and impact the community.” Asked how he got the Redskins involved, Zarou shared, “Kedric and I became friends through our spiritual community. He loved the idea and it sold itself amongst his peers.” Said Zarou, “these players are considered role models in our community, and though each of their reasons to participate may differ, they too believe in the impact of community service.”
To learn more about Open Heart please visit, www.openheartsinternational.org. In addition to financial donations, print and electronic vocational training resources are gladly accepted.