Colonial Downs kicks off meal distribution, pledges 1000's of meals to essential New Kent employees

Pulling a pepperoni pizza out of the oven, Colonial Downs kitchen worker Marty Ball places it on her cutting board and before the next makes its way down the line, she cuts it into signature triangles and boxes it up.

With little time spared, she effortlessly moves onto the next one. With more than 150 pizzas scheduled for the day, she has had some practice.

The Colonial Downs Group kicked off its month-long meals distribution Wednesday, promising to offer 20,000 meals to any essential worker in localities which house a Rosie’s Gaming Emporium facility.

For grocery store employees, pharmacy workers, first responders, law enforcement, medical care professionals and any other essential worker in New Kent County, Richmond, Hampton and Vinton, there is a prepared meal waiting.

“We know that so many of our friends, family and neighbors have to be out there every day on the front line of this fight against the coronavirus,” Chief Operating Manager Aaron Gomes said. “With our facilities closed, we have the capacity to help them, in our own small way.”

From 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, essential businesses can call in, place an order and then pick it up when it’s ready, Colonial Downs General Manager Stephanie Wisneski said.

While different localities have different protocols, Wisenski said the New Kent location has the ability to deliver to businesses because of the county’s sheer size.

Back in the kitchen, Ball works with four other employees to craft a variety of pizzas to be picked up or delivered across the county.

“I am excited to be back at work and helping,” Ball said. “I am very fortunate to work for a company that still pays its employees through all of this."

With an anticipated 150-200 meals to craft and distribute every day, kitchen assistant food and beverage manager Clayton Palmer said the company landed on distributing pizzas because they offer an easy assembly and keep employees 6 feet apart at all times.

Taking it a step further, Palmer said he is only keeping four people on staff at all times working just two days a week in order to limit exposure.

Offering cheese, pepperoni, vegetarian and gluten-free options, one side of the kitchen works to dress the crust. When it is ready, it is sent through the oven. From there, it is cut and placed in a box where it will wait under a heat lamp until it is carried out.

“We want to be there for those essential employees, not just first responders and law enforcement, but, grocery stores, pharmacies, postal services, anyone essential,” Wisneski said. “They are essential and we can help.”

The Colonial Downs Group encourages essential businesses and employees interested in receiving meals to call 804-557-5444.

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium is located at 10515 Colonial Downs Parkway, New Kent. For more information, visit

Emily Holter | April 2, 2020 | Tidewater Review


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