A California-based organization founded to provide aid for backstretch workers in efforts to enhance their lives will be helping workers at the upcoming Del Mar summer meet.
The Gregson Foundation recently initiated a special coupon program for backstretch workers as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The coupon program is designed to lessen the additional burden placed on equine workers due to the uncertainties caused by the pandemic.
Coupons part of aid distributed to track workers
In April, the Gregson Foundation issued coupons to approximately 1,350 workers of 149 California trainers — 82 in Southern California and 67 in Northern California.
Workers received two of the $5 coupons twice, which in turn could be redeemed at the stable area cafeterias, Debby’s Café at Santa Anita Park and Kan’s Cafeteria at Golden Gate Fields.
The coupons were also redeemable at California Thoroughbred Trainers’ recreation hall stores for the purposes of purchasing food and snacks as well as everyday necessities — such as hygiene products, over-the-counter medicines, or laundry needs.
Redeemed coupons represented a value amount of $26,690.
Foundation focuses on needs of workers and families
“Our backstretch workers are very appreciative of a seemingly small perk like this,” Gregson Foundation president Jenine Sahadi said. “They don’t have a lot and they work hard with our horses and something like this is a recognition of the important jobs they perform. This was met with such positive feedback that we’re going to do it again at Del Mar.”
Sahadi has headed the Gregson Foundation since 2001.
A 501(c)3 nonprofit charitable organization, the foundation was named in honor of the late trainer Edwin Gregson. The foundation raises funds to benefit both backstretch workers and their families.
The Gregson Foundation has raised in excess of $5 million via grants, donations, and fundraising events such as Charity Day. Funds have gone toward providing various activities for workers and their families, including softball and soccer leagues, family excursions to amusement parks and zoos, fishing trips, professional sporting events, holiday festivities, picnics and barbecues.
Del Mar will begin its 2020 racing season on Friday, July 10, and will run through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7.