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Start your engines, stock your pantry

Emily Lytle * Delaware
elytle@doverpost.com
Dover Post

Soon after Dover International Speedway announced that there would be no NASCAR races in May, due to the coronavirus outbreak, cars were streaming into its vast parking lots to get emergency supplies from the Food Bank of Delaware March 20.

Instead of the familiar scenes of cheering fans, clinking beer cans or spirited games of cornhole, volunteers from all over the state directed four lines of cars through a drive-thru food pantry. They served 2,424 households by the end of the day.

Several staff from Dover International Speedway pitched in, including President and CEO Mike Tatoian who helped load canned peaches into trunks.

“We’re living in some unprecedented times, so any way that we can help the community, we certainly are here for [them],” he said. “This is what the world is all about, just caring for one another.”

This was the Food Bank’s third drive-thru this week. They served about 1,200 households in Wilmington and 1,300 in Georgetown, said Kim Turner, Food Bank of Delaware communications director.

While the Dover drive-thru was scheduled to take place on Legislative Mall, the Food Bank quickly realized they needed a bigger space. “We would have clogged the streets of Dover,” Turner said. After traffic problems in Wilmington and a drive-thru that lasted until 7 p.m. in Georgetown, they upgraded from two to four lanes and solicited help from the Delaware Department of Transportation and Delaware State Police.

“We’re just so thankful for the state police and DelDOT, and Dover International for letting us use the facility, because this size distribution could not be done without their expertise in directing traffic,” Turner said.

Robert Horton from Magnolia volunteered and said he was blown away by the number of cars and amount of need in Delaware. “If you believe in God, He says, ‘help your brother man,’ and this is a great way to help your brother man,” he said.

The Food Bank does not have any more scheduled drive-thrus at the time, but they will update as information becomes available, Turner said. For more, visit fbd.org.