PHOTOS: Washington Commanders lineman Charles Leno Jr. shows off his cooking skills to kids

Washington Commanders offensive lineman Charles Leno Jr. didn’t just want to write a $19,000 check to donate 150 sets of pots and pants to local families. He exchanged his football pads for gloves and a chef’s hat and showed off his cooking skills at the Kenilworth Recreation Center in Northeast D.C. Friday night by making salmon bites.

“People don’t have the utensils. They don’t have the pots and pans and stuff like that,” Leno said about making the donation.

Even though he mainly cooks pancakes at home, he stressed the importance of a healthy diet to the dozen kids that were there.

“I wanted to make sure people are cooking together, spending time together and enjoying meals together at the dinner table, putting phones away,” Leno said.

Some of the kids there were eager to learn from an NFL athlete.

“They’re trying to figure out like ‘how long does something have to cook for or what’s the difference between a bass pot and a sauce pot,'” said Leno.

The kids were able to try the finished product and one of them, named Rick, said he was so impressed after tasting Leno’s bites that he wanted to buy some.

“Me personally, I’m not much a cook myself,” Rick said. “I will buy batch if I could.”

“Having a Commanders star in our building with an apron on will make the kitchen as exciting as the football field to our young people,” said Thennie Freeman, acting director of D.C.’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “It’s truly beautiful to experience!”

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

Scott Gelman

Scott Gelman is a digital editor and writer for WTOP. A South Florida native, Scott graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019. During his time in College Park, he worked for The Diamondback, the school’s student newspaper.

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