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Delaware North Sportservice operators give back amid COVID-19 pandemic

Though many professional sports venues in the United States remain closed to fans, Delaware North Sportservice locations and associates have still found impactful ways to serve their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Truist Park (Atlanta)

  • Delaware North and the Atlanta Braves this spring announced the Braves Home Plate Project to respond to food insecurity needs in the Metro Atlanta Area and across Braves Country. Led by Pete Smithing, Delaware North’s on-site executive chef, the kitchens at Truist Park prepped food purchased for the cancelled April games and instead created meals for the community.
More than 25,000 freshly prepared meals were donated. With the help of food recovery logistics specialists, Second Helpings, Meals on Wheels and GoodR and more than 20 partner agencies such as the YMCA, organizations will receive prepared meals for distribution to individuals and families across Metro Atlanta.

In addition, the Los Bravos food truck was deployed to join hunger relief efforts underway in communities across “Braves Country.” The truck visited Chattanooga, Nashville, Gwinnett, Rome and Albany, Georgia after its initial stop at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta on May 1.


  • In May, Delaware North and the Atlanta Braves delivered hundreds of hot meals to Project Connect Nashville, a volunteer group that’s been assisting the tornado-damaged area of North Nashville. The effort was conducted as part the Braves Home Plate Project, which was created to respond to food insecurity needs across “Braves Country.” Led by Pete Smithing, Delaware North’s on-site executive chef, the kitchens at Truist Park prepped food that had been purchased for April and May games to create meals for the community, including frontline workers amid the pandemic and other areas in need.


  • Later that same month, Delaware North and the Atlanta Braves delivered meals and merchandise to medical professionals at Phoebe Putney Health System in Albany, Ga. The effort was the latest in the Braves Home Plate Project, which was created to respond to food insecurity needs across “Braves Country.” A story in Sports Illustrated on the impact of COVID-19 on the hot dog and peanut industries noted Delaware North’s donations. 


  • Truist Financial Corporation in September announced its first Community Champions Program “to honor three exceptional people and the impact they have made on their communities.” Among those recognized was Pete Smithing, executive chef for Delaware North at the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park.
“During the COVID-19 shutdown, Chef Pete led and executed the ‘Braves Home Plate Project’ as part of his work with Delaware North and in partnership with Goodr and Second Helpings Atlanta to provide over 95,000 meals in response to food insecurity needs across Metro Atlanta,” the announcement from Truist said of Smithing. “In addition, he coordinated meal distribution for frontline healthcare workers across six cities in Braves Country and distributed over 2,400 KN95 masks, 500 bottles of hand sanitizer and 4,800 face shields to local hospitals in partnership with Westrock.”

Amalie Arena (Tampa, Fla.)

  • Delaware North Sportservice at Amalie Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning, continued to aid the community in the wake of COVID-19. In March, Sportservice and arena ownership donated 18 pallets of food products to two organizations, Feeding Tampa Bay and Metropolitan Ministries, that provide food for those in need in the region. Then, on May 2, the Sportservice team, led by Executive Chef Waylon Nelson, joined with team ownership and several local restaurateurs to use the Amalie Arena kitchens to prepare 5,000 meals for front-line workers in the region, including first responders, doctors and nurses.
“Through those conversations with Feeding Tampa Bay, it came up that we have the culinary talent, we have the kitchen space, would we be interested in helping out and being a production center for them,” said George Raub, Delaware North’s general manager at Amalie Arena. “We were happy to jump in.”


  • In July, the Lightning and Delaware North announced a milestone of 100,000 meals prepared and supplied to Feeding Tampa Bay to help those with food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since April 9, Executive Chef Waylon Nelson and his team have been cooking in an Amalie Arena kitchen — prepping 1,000 meals per day. They quickly ramped up to producing 2,000 meals a day, equaling 10,000 a week for Feeding Tampa Bay and its efforts in the fight against hunger in the Bay Area. There are usually six to eight people working inside the kitchen.

TD Garden (Boston)

  • TD Garden, the sports and entertainment venue that’s owned and operated by Delaware North, and the Boston Bruins have embraced Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s #GettheTestBoston pledge to encourage associates to get tested for the novel coronavirus – even if they’re not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
“Boston’s COVID-19 numbers are increasing, and our public health data is clear: we need more residents to get tested,” Walsh said in a statement in October. “We are entering a critical time in this pandemic, and everyone who does their part will save lives and make a difference.” Resources for testing are available to both TD Garden associates of Delaware North and the Bruins, the NHL team that’s owned by Delaware North Chairman Jeremy Jacobs.

Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wisc.)

  • Heath Barbato, executive chef for Delaware North at Lambeau Field, won a competition held by company supplier Johnsonville in September. The competition, “Bratsgiving Throwdown 2020,” featured an online voting battle of two bratwurst recipes to benefit local charities.
With Barbato’s recipe garnering more votes, it means $10,000 from Johnsonville went to his charity of choice – the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay. Barbato’s “Brats in a Blanket” recipe features Johnsonville® original brats wrapped in pretzel buns and topped with Wisconsin favorites fresh cheese curds and beer mustard.

Met Life Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)

  • As part of the efforts of Rock and Wrap It Up! In the New York City area, Delaware North Sportservice at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., home of the New York Giants and New York Jets, provided the organization with 6,000 pounds of food that was donated to Feed The Children of Newark.