Daytona International Speedway transformed into food drive for the holidays

More than 32,000 pounds of food distributed in Volusia

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Magic of Lights at the Daytona International Speedway transformed into a community wide food drop Wednesday morning for hundreds of people like Elena D’Andelet who need groceries.

“I am thankful and I am grateful because it is going to be shared with my family,” said D’Andelet.

The lines wrapped around the Speedway as volunteers stuffed trunks with boxes of prepackaged foods, canned goods, meat, poultry and, of course, 400 turkeys, all to give away for the holidays.

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“We’re very grateful for everything,” said Heather McKain.

This was McKain’s first time to be in a food drop line.

“Covid happened, jobs changing, we desperately needed it,” she said.

Jamie Hartsgrove who is the Outreach Director of Daytona Dream Center said the need for food has not slowed down. Wednesday’s food drop was the 14th one since March.

“We’re still seeing so many people in need. We’re up to 7,000 pounds of food since the beginning of the pandemic in March. Just reaching thousands of families in Volusia County,” he said.

Daytona Dream Center teamed up with Calvary Christian Center and Second Harvest Food Bank to distribute 32,000 pounds of food Wednesday morning.

“This is my first time. I’ve never been here,” said Amber Welenc.

Amber Welenc said she’s caring for a sick roommate and the two weeks’ worth of groceries are a blessing.

“I hope it continues no matter what happens in this world because we need this. I really do appreciate it,” she said.

Hartsgrove said families should not be concerned of any food shortages as these organizations will continue to collect and distribute groceries to those who need it the most.

“We’re all going through the pandemic, a lot of spikes are happening again, there’s a lot of fear,” said Hartsgrove. “We just want them to have peace and joy especially during the Christmas holidays.”

About the Author:

Loren Korn is a native Texan who joined the News 6 team as a reporter in May 2014. She was born and raised in Houston and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism.