In 2020, while many Delaware North operating locations remain closed or operating at limited capacities, the company’s associates and operating locations are still finding ways to serve their communities. Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, several locations celebrated the season of giving with donations of time, treasury and – of course – turkeys.
TD Garden makes Thanksgiving donation to assist Boston’s homeless
In a normal year at Thanksgiving, TD Garden would be hosting its annual Table of Friends event to serve a holiday meal to more than 1,000 of Boston’s homeless on the arena floor.
While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic makes that impossible this year, Garden Neighborhood Charities, the philanthropic arm of TD Garden, will still be making a $10,000 donation to Friend’s of Boston Homeless to assist the city’s homeless population in a different way.
The donation will go toward the organization’s Boston Housing Pathways Initiative. The initiative, made up of housing providers across Boston, will be at the forefront of the city’s work to house people experiencing homelessness at the highest risk of contracting COVID; with a focus on the most densely populated shelters and people who stay outside. This is in addition to the people already being assisted through Boston’s Housing First and Rapid Rehousing programs at Southampton and Woods Mullen Shelters and is an “all hands-on deck” approach with the goal of housing 135 more people by January 2021.
The donation comes at a critical time for the organization’s work, with winter coming, flu season starting, and coronavirus cases rising. It’s crucial to help the most vulnerable neighbors move quickly out of shelters and unsafe outdoor spaces into safe, stable homes of their own and connect with the supports they need to live healthy, hopeful futures.
For more than two decades, Garden Neighborhood Charities has served more than 14,000 hot meals, donated more than $75,000 and has helped hundreds of area homeless move beyond shelter into permanent housing through its support of Friends of Boston’s Homeless and City of Boston’s Housing First initiative.
Delaware North holds turkey distribution as part of pledge to give back to community casino bid
A year ago, Delaware North announced its proposal to develop and operate a casino and entertainment complex in Calumet City, Ill., in Chicago’s south suburbs near the Indiana border.
And while the Illinois Gaming Board recently delayed its decision to at least April 2021 on which of four proposed casinos in that region would be selected to receive a license, Delaware North decided that the company’s pledge to begin giving back to that community could wait no longer.
On Monday, November 16, in the parking lot of Calumet City’s River Oaks Center mall, where Delaware North has proposed its Southland Live Casino, several company volunteers and city representatives distributed $10,000 worth of turkeys to the community via a drive-thru format. Residents were required to stay in their vehicles as masked and socially distanced volunteers brought turkeys to their cars.
The approximately 650 turkeys were donated by Delaware North and sourced through partner Sysco, which delivered them directly to the mall lot. About 75 of the turkeys were provided to the Calumet City Community Resource Center for those in need.
“When we became a partner in this project, one of the things we talked about was becoming a part of this community,” Osi Imomoh, regional general manager for Delaware North’s gaming business in Illinois, told the Chicago Tribune’s Daily Southtown newspaper at the distribution event.
“Even though this project hasn’t been green-lighted yet, we still want to live up to that commitment. (This year) 2020 has been such a hard year for everybody, and we thought this was our little way of saying thank you (to Calumet City) for embracing us,” Imomoh said.
Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush was joined by a small group of aldermen, firemen, police officers and community leaders to assist with the drive-thru turkey distribution.
“Today’s turkey giveaway is a sign of so many good things to come with Southland Live Casino,” the mayor said. “Our 37,000 residents are excited about the job opportunities, the educational partnership with South Suburban College, childcare for team members and the revitalization of River Oaks Center into an entertainment destination. The time is now for Calumet City!”
Imomoh said Southland Live Casino will generate $45 to $50 million in annual state and local taxes, with $6 to $8 million benefiting Calumet City. Delaware North plans to open a temporary casino at a vacant mall store within 90 days of receiving a license. The permanent casino would then go up in the mall’s south parking lot near Macy’s, with construction taking between 12 and 18 months.
Imomoh noted Delaware North, as the owner of Jumer’s Casino & Hotel in Rock Island and GEM Gaming, is the only bidder currently licensed to operate gaming in Illinois and has other business operations in the state, including running concessions and retail at Guaranteed Rate Field for the Chicago White Sox.
Delaware North team at Amalie Arena reaches milestone of 200,000 meals prepared for Feeding Tampa Bay
Delaware North, the food and beverage partner of the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena, announced this week its milestone of 200,000 meals prepared and supplied to Feeding Tampa Bay to help those with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since early April, Lightning executive chef Waylon Nelson and his team have been cooking in an Amalie Arena kitchen, prepping 1,000 to 2,000 meals per week. The meals are being delivered to those who cannot leave their homes and don't have the ability or resources to get to a grocery store. Some meals are also being sent to various food drives so Feeding Tampa Bay can distribute the emergency food across their 10-county region.
Feeding Tampa Bay, part of the national Feeding America network, focuses on providing food to the hundreds of thousands of food insecure families in the 10-county area of West Central Florida.
Southland Casino Racing helps feed the community
On Monday, November 23, Southland Casino Racing, owned and operated by Delaware North in West Memphis, Ark., provided a total of 150 turkey or ham certificates across three local charities for those in need this Thanksgiving season.
The three organizations receiving the donations were Hughes Christian Outreach Ministries of Hughes, Ark., Good Neighbor Love Center of West Memphis, Ark., and 8th Street Ministries of Rogers, Ark.
“Giving to others is what the holidays are about, and Southland Casino is happy to seize every opportunity to help its community,” said David Wolf, president and general manager of Southland Casino Racing.
Atlanta airport partners with USO to give thanks to military members
In addition to the Thanksgiving holiday, Delaware North’s team at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is also celebrating National Veterans and Military Families Month in November.
Rich Bolton, Delaware North’s executive chef at the airport, prepared and delivered a meal for the United Service Organizations (USO) to serve on Thanksgiving day. In addition, several airport restaurants will provide a 25% discount to all military members in addition to great service and food.
“These are America's defenders of freedom and we need show our gratitude, now more than ever,” said Scott Knight, Delaware North’s general manager at the Atlanta airport. “The United States is fortunate to have a professional military, past and present, defending our freedoms! Now is the time to recognize their contributions to our country and honor their family members who share in the sacrifice of military life.”
Wheeling Island distributes turkeys to local organizations in need
Wheeling Island Hotel Casino Racetrack, owned and operated by Delaware North in Wheeling, W.Va., participated in a longstanding tradition on Friday, donating nearly 200 turkeys to local organizations.
Catholic Charities of West Virginia, Wheeling Health Right, the Wheeling Soup Kitchen and the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley were this year’s recipients.
“It means a lot. We still have people coming by in more numbers than usual and we're very, very, very grateful to help them,” said Lee Williams of Catholic Charities.
Wheeling Island also gifts turkeys to its employees, some of whom have chosen to donate their turkeys as part of this distribution.
“We're really excited, it's another year of giving, and in this crazy time, it's even more important than ever that we're able to do this,” said Kim Florence, regional president and general manager.
See more in this clip from WTVO-TV.