Thomas David Motorsports racing against food insecurity

3 mins read

HIGHTSTOWN, NJ — As too many families in New Jersey have discovered, food insecurity can come at you and your family pretty fast. However, a New Jersey-based Motorsports team and a local nonprofit are “racing” to raise awareness on the issue. 

Thomas David Motorsports has granted Soup Kitchen 411 free sponsorship spaces on its racecar #36, a modified stock car that competes on oval tracks throughout the Northeast. 

“It’s a great feeling and we are proud to have Soup Kitchen 411 on board the TDM #36. As a team in a Motorsports arena, it’s a great way to create awareness for what Soup Kitchen 411 is doing,” said Rich Cooper, lead driver for Thomas David Motorsports. “I have a lot of background in Public Safety in the fire service and were always involved in trying to support the community and this falls right into something that I try to do as much as I can.”

Their first race of the year was Wall Stadium’s Garden State Classic held on June 5, after which TDM’s racing season was put on hiatus due to engine repairs that took longer than usual, owing to the difficulty of obtaining parts. The November 20 Turkey Derby saw the team’s return to action, proudly displaying Soup Kitchen 411’s logo. 

“The motorsports community is steeped in tradition and community involvement, so naturally we are excited to move forward in 2022 to increase awareness as we plan our next season of competition,” said Rich Cooper.

Soup Kitchen 411’s program, called FeedNJ, works by buying meals in large quantities from local restaurants with up-to-date health certificates and directing those meals to wherever there is a distribution event in need of fresh meals. Its slogan is “Save Restaurants, Feed Communities.” 

Soup Kitchen 411 was connected with the TDM racing team by Mike Giunta, owner of Bayway Catering, an Elizabeth-based restaurant that has prepared over 10,000 meals for soup kitchens, food pantries, houses of worship and community-based organizations in the Union County area. 

Cooper and his team hope that good planning and engine health will allow the TDM team to race up and down the East Coast in over a dozen competitions in the 2022 season, as they have done since 2014.

“When TDM first told us they were interested in displaying our logo, our team thought ‘that’d be a cool way to get people interested in what we do, and get activated in hunger awareness, but can we afford it?’ Well, we were shocked to find out that they wanted to gift us this awesome sponsorship, to support our work, and what a support it has been,” said Ken DeRoberts, Chairman and Co-Founder of Soup Kitchen 411. “To a lot of people, volunteering isn’t necessarily the coolest thing to do, but racing is definitely cool.”