New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America hosts fundraiser to re-stock food pantry
by NYRA Press Office
The New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America has launched a fundraiser in support of backstretch workers to help during the challenging circumstances relative to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The chaplaincy is looking to bolster its food pantry and welcomes any financial contribution. For those who wish to donate food, non-perishable items that are microwaveable are welcome. Drop-offs in Nassau County will also welcome perishable items in individual sizes, including fresh fruits.
Donations can be made online at flipcause.com/secure/cause_pdetails/Nzc5ODQ=. For more information on how to ship a donation or for the address to drop-off food near the track, please contact [email protected] or text 516-428-5267.
"Clearly the best thing people can do are canned items, something non-perishable, where we know the food won't go bad," said Ramón Dominguez, who was named president of the New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America last month. "There's been a few people who have called and asked if it is better to donate food or money. We appreciate both, but with money, it gives the chaplaincy the ability to purchase what is needed the most."
Dominguez, a 2016 Hall of Fame inductee and winner of 4,985 career races, said morale among the backstretch community has remained positive even as live racing at Aqueduct Racetrack has been suspended until further notice due to changing circumstances in the racing community relative to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
"Despite the high level of uncertainty and concern, there's also a high level of hope and a positive feel in the air, where people feel like this is going to pass, so they continue to work and do what they've been doing for many years," Dominguez said. "There's a lot of positive vibes in the midst of the concern."
Dominguez credited the work and support provided by the New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association (NYTHA).
"Both NYRA and NYTHA, they've been so supportive of the chaplaincy and the backstretch community," Dominguez said. "Through different programs, they've continued to give support. I don't see them as separate entities from the chaplaincy. We are one big family doing what's best for the backstretch. They've done such a good job stepping up to the plate and when anything is needed, they are there to help us."
Dominguez, who rode in North America from 1996-2013, was a mainstay in New York racing, including in 2001 when he saw the racetrack community come together under difficult circumstances following the September 11 terrorist attack.
"With this situation, talking to friends all over, there's a high level of stress because of the uncertainty, and that always adds extra stress," Dominguez said. "If you know what's coming, you can prepare for it. It's uncertain times with the unknown, but while we might not be able to be together in a physical form, we are united and know we have support and that is felt in all the communities. We know we have each other's back.
"Going through things like 9/11 and other events, we know we are resilient and bound to overcome this," he added.
The New York Race Track Chaplaincy of America ministers to the backstretch community with children's enrichment, social services, recreational programs, educational opportunities and non-denominational religious services.
Additional information about the programs and events organized by the chaplaincy is available at http://www.rtcany.org.