The Bobby Labonte Foundation, founded by NASCAR Champion and Hall of Fame racecar driver and High Point businessman Bobby Labonte, is helping to ensure local families who’ve been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic will have food on the table this holiday season. The foundation is providing $200 grocery gift cards to 50 impoverished families who qualify for assistance through the local non-profit, High Point LEAP (Literacy Empowers All People).
Labonte and his wife, Kristin, presented the gift cards to High Point LEAP’s founder, Claire Robinson, at Bicycle Toy & Hobby on Friday. At the same time, one special Guilford County, N.C. family got a big surprise – a $500 grocery shopping spree, plus a brand new bike for each child. The Ramos-Valerio family, Gabriela, Jose and their seven children, have been a part of LEAP for four years. Gabriela says the program has changed her childrens’ lives by helping them catch up with their schoolwork during the pandemic, providing food assistance, clothing and toys, and preparing their oldest daughter for college.
“Today was such a surprise and we are all so excited, this is going to be the best Christmas,” said Gabriela Ibarra-Ramos. “My children ask for bikes every year, and now they’ve finally gotten them. The grocery gift cards will help us so much, and also allow us to have a special meal for Christmas.”
High Point LEAP is a multicultural dropout intervention offering a variety of assistance for Guilford County families living in poverty: academic and afterschool programs, character development and leadership skills, job readiness and training, financial literacy and healthy lifestyle information. Robinson says their services are critical in these unprecedented times, when families are struggling to keep up with their childrens’ virtual schooling and financially challenged by unemployment and other negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today, even more children and families are experiencing food insecurity. Furthermore, learning still matters for children in the midst of this pandemic. Our mission is to continue to provide the resources children and families need the most: food, academics, internet access and nurturing from caring adults,” said Robinson. “We are so thankful to the Bobby Labonte Foundation for their support when it’s needed most, and for their ongoing grant support throughout the year. We would not be able to offer food, academic services and resources to children had it not been for this tremendous generosity.”
Labonte came up with the idea to provide grocery gift cards to local families after the cancellation of his foundation’s annual charity bike ride, which raised more than $50,000 for Triad-area non-profits in 2019.
“We can’t wait to get back onto our bikes to raise money and provide grants to local charities next year,” said Labonte. “While big plans are in the works for our 2021 Charity Bike Ride, we also know that families need help right now and we wanted to do our part to support our community. We hope this provides some relief and brings a smile to these families’ faces during these difficult times.”
To find out more about the Bobby Labonte Foundation, visit bobbylabontefoundation.org.
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