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Racing to end hunger

Aug 25, 2020 | Newsletter, Foodbank Blog

Watkins Glen International has hosted a wide array of cars in its 37-year speedway history: stock cars, Busch trucks, Indy, Grand Prix, Formula One…

In May, WGI welcomed a whole new type of vehicle: Food Bank delivery trucks.

The world-famous road racing facility hosted its first Community Food Distribution in May, allowing clients to drive through garages used my some of the greatest names in racing history.

With so many Southern Tier residents out of work and school and camps closed during the pandemic, the need for emergency food outgrew the previous distribution site in downtown Watkins Glen. With hundreds of cars blocking village streets, the community needed a site large enough to accommodate snaking lines of vehicles.

“When we were thinking about what other locations in Schuyler County could accommodate one of these distributions, the first spot that came to our mind was WGI,” says Natasha Thompson, president and CEO of the Food Bank. “WGI and its RACE Foundation have supported our work for quite some time in so many different ways. I think they really understand the impact of food insecurity in our community and they always step up to help.”

When Natasha reached out to track leadership, Michael Printup, WGI president, was happy to oblige. The garage space allowed volunteers to load food into cars under cover on a rainy day, and WGI staff members joined in to help.

WGI staffers Chris Duane, left, and Luke Schock pack boxes of fresh produce and frozen meats to load into clients’ cars at Watkins Glen International.

“What a great way to use Watkins Glen International!” Michael says. “That’s what Watkins Glen International does; we do a lot of charity work and we have a lot of fun. But, when we are able to do something like this in such a challenging time with COVID-19, this really brings it to heart. I’m just really proud to be associated with Watkins Glen International and able to help the Food Bank – there is nothing better.”