Colonial Downs to provide 20,000 free meals to "community heroes"

Published: Mar. 25, 2020 at 10:06 AM EDT
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One company has announced an initiative to help feed Virginia workers who are serving on the front lines in the state's fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Colonial Downs Group, which operates Rosie's Gaming Emporiums, announced Wednesday it would be using its Rosie's Kitchens and staff to provide 20,000 free grab-and-go meals in each region in which the company has a facility.

"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. With our facilities closed, we have the capacity to help them, in our own small way, by using our kitchens to provide free meals to Virginia’s community heroes: the police officers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, grocery store employees and all those who are stepping up to serve their fellow Virginians. We will work with local leaders and businesses in the localities in which we operate to identify where we can be most helpful in this effort. We hope this partnership helps make a positive difference in the weeks ahead," said Aaron Gomes, chief operating officer for Colonial Downs Group.

In addition to the meal program, Colonial Downs announced it would continue to pay its employees through the end of April. This continues their policy announced on March 15 when they closed their facilities.

Gomes said, “Like all Virginians, we are trying to navigate through an incredibly stressful and difficult time. We want our employees to know we are taking every step possible to get them through this period, and that we value their service. That is why we raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour last year at all of our facilities, and it is why we are taking this action today. We hope this announcement provides the men and women who work at Rosie’s with some peace of mind in this challenging moment.”

Rosie's employees will be paid in full for the one-month period. Paychecks, paid time off and benefits will not be affected, according to the company.

Rosie's will begin offering the meal program April 1, and will start taking pick-up orders on March 30. Meals must be ordered one day in advance and can be picked up from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. To order meals for your team at the Vinton location, call 804-557-5480. For more information,