Helping Hands -- Toyota Motorsports driver Kyle Busch, right, and his wife Samantha were among the volunteers who pitched in to assemble personal care bags for women at five Kansas City area shelters.
Mike Lemke readily admits that Kansas City isn’t the largest market on the U.S. map. But no one could ever question the size of its heart.
In the run up to the Toyota Tundra 250 NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway in May, the Kansas City Region’s vehicle operations manager was among those who saw an opportunity to reach out to those in need.
“It’s always exciting when Toyota Motorsports comes to town,” says Lemke. “But it’s even more special when we can use that opportunity to give something back to our community. We had a relationship with several women’s shelters in the area and, since the race fell over Mother’s Day weekend, we thought it just made sense to reach out.”
What did they do?
First, the Region and Toyota Motorsports arranged to have several pallets of women’s hygiene products delivered to Legends Toyota, the dealership nearest the track. From there, two Tundra pickup trucks were pressed into service to transport the items to Victory Lane. That’s where a team of volunteers – including Region team members, Toyota Motorsports crew members and drivers, Saatchi and Saatchi employees and others – formed an assembly line and packed the various personal care products into 1,000 gift bags. Finally, the completed bags were boxed and placed in the beds of the Tundras and delivered to five shelters in the Kansas City metro area.
A Winning Team -- Those who played a role in this outreach effort gather for a group photo in Victory Lane at Kansas Speedway.
Among those working alongside Lemke and his colleagues was none other than Tundra team owner and driver Kyle Busch and his wife Samantha. Two days later, Busch would pilot his No. 51 pickup to the checkered flag in the Camping World Truck Series race. Talk about a win-win.
“It was great to see so many Toyota people, including the drivers, pitch in and help,” says Lemke. “But it was even more rewarding to go the shelters and see the excitement and thanks from the people who run them.”
By Dan Miller