United Way Of Long Island Donating $30,000 In Gift Cards To Backstretch Workers At Belmont

Backstretch workers at Belmont Park will soon receive some welcome relief in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the form of $50 gift cards donated by United Way of Long Island.

The cards, which total more than $30,000 in value, will be distributed to all backstretch workers by members of the Backstretch Employee Service Team of New York (B.E.S.T.) and the Belmont Child Care Association (BCCA). This expands a program that kicked off earlier this month in which backstretch workers completing quarantine received gift cards, courtesy of United Way of Long Island through its “United Together Response Fund for COVID-19.”

“Timing is everything – and our hope is these gift cards will provide some relief to workers and their families with groceries and essentials,” said United Way of Long Island President and CEO Theresa A. Regnante. “This is right in line with our mission: being ‘United Together’ in helping families cope as best they can and get through these challenging times.”

Though the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) has suspended live racing due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in New York, daily care of the more than 1,300 horses stabled on Belmont Park’s backstretch continues under the watchful eye of the approximately 800 men and women working at Belmont Park.

“Backstretch workers are essential to racing and I am thrilled that each worker now at Belmont Park will get a gift card,” said B.E.S.T. Executive Director Paul Ruchames. “As a member of the Preparedness and Response Team at Belmont, I am particularly grateful to the entire backstretch community for their full cooperation with our recovery plan. ‘United Together’ is truly an approach that is working and will undoubtedly lead racing to greater heights once the threat of coronavirus is over. Thanks to United Way LI and BCCA for bringing this wonderful gift to the backstretch community.”

Ruchames said that the B.E.S.T., which provides backstretch workers free health care, life insurance, drug and mental health counseling, food and clothing, will work with the BCCA, where children of backstretch workers attend its childcare and early-childhood education facility, as well as the New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America (NYRTCA) to ensure that every backstretch worker receives a gift card.

NYRA’s Preparedness and Response Plan Committee is comprised of Ruchames as well as NYRA staff members, representatives from the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the NYRTCA. The committee has closely assessed developments regarding the coronavirus to develop protocols following the most up-to-date health guidance established by the New York State Department of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

All of those organizations as well as the BCCA, have also been working on a number of other projects during the COVID-19 outbreak in support of backstretch workers. The BCCA, which “works tirelessly to establish important relationships with community partners which we share with our backstretch partners for the benefit of everyone,” says its President Libby Imperio,is collecting supplies for infants and toddlers who attend its education facility at Belmont Park.

The NYRTCA has expanded its food bank and B.E.S.T., which operates a Health Center on the Belmont Park backstretch, is seeking additional donations in support of its efforts to assist the community during the pandemic.

“Working as a team is essentially what we’ve been doing throughout the coronavirus outbreak,” said BCCA Executive Director Joanne K. Adams. “We’re all dedicated to the same ends: Giving these families who are the heart of our sport, some relief at a difficult time. That’s why this wonderful and unexpected gift from United Way of Long Island is so wonderful.”

The post United Way Of Long Island Donating $30,000 In Gift Cards To Backstretch Workers At Belmont appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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