Pizza lovers of all ages poured into The Dons’ Wood-Fired Pizza to celebrate the holiday spirit with free pizza as part of the third annual “Pizza Christmas Dinner.”
Redskins players Kedric Golston and Logan Paulsen greeted patrons at the door with two slices of pizza, and sent them down the line. Graham Gano stood behind them and received fresh pizzas coming out of the oven.
For once, it was a good thing for Gano to slice one.
Lorenzo Alexander, Rocky McIntosh and Roy Helu were on hand to provide drinks at the end of the line, and donations were put in a giant stocking for Africa Missions. Guests were entertained by Christmas carols from professional recording artist Amy Jo and Friends.
I’m a sucker for authentic Italian food, and this is some of the best I’ve had. On top of that, I made the acquaintance of The Dons’ owner, Waleed Zarou. But Waleed doesn’t have just acquaintances–to know him is to befriend him.
This is an event that is very close to Zarou’s heart, as he worked as a missionary, “when [he] was a young, single man.” Having a fundraiser for a humanitarian cause is a combination of his passion for pizza and people.
“The holidays are supposed to be a happy time for a lot of people, but I’ve also noticed that it’s been a hard time for a lot of people. I’ve got this great restaurant, and I thought, ‘Why not invite everyone out here so people don’t feel left out?'”
This year was the third such Christmas Dinner that he’s served from his Sterling location, and he said that this is probably the best turnout he’s seen.
And despite the tough economic times, he was encouraged by the charitable spirit of those that attended.
“No matter how bad people have it, there’s always someone that has it worse,” he said. “Two-thirds of the world lives on a dollar a day. I would never minimize the feeling of hardship in this country, but there’s a big difference between poverty here and abroad.”
He credited current Redskins like Golston and Alexander, along with former Redskins Darrell Green and Derrick Frost for helping him to promote his charity. He also revealed that his daughter, Juliana is a world-class pizza twirler–but you can decide for yourself:
A great night for Redskins players, pizza, and a great benefit for overseas.