Making a pit stop for the hungry

By Scott Sasina

August 8, 2014 Updated Aug 8, 2014 at 6:41 PM EDT

Watkins Glen, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Thousands of people will make their way to Watkins Glen this weekend, but not necessarily for the race. A racing legend is also raising awareness for hunger.

He has been called "The King," "King Richard," and even "the greatest NASCAR driver ever." On Friday, Richard Petty was in Watkins Glen to drive attention to his cause.

"Racing has been good to us and when it's good for us, we gotta give back. It's payback time, so something like this is another way to pay back," said Petty.

Richard Petty Motorsports teamed up with Smithfield Foods Inc. and Tops Friendly Markets to donate food to the hungry.

A total of 40,000 pounds of protein was donated to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier and representatives said the donation was more important for them than most people might think.

"Protein items are some of our most high demand items, and those are the items that we are least likely to see through our donated channels. So, this is really fantastic for us," said Natasha Thompson, President of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

Smithfield and Petty have done several other food donations not only in the Southern Tier, but around the U.S.

This was the 200th delivery Smithfield has made.

"To be able to see the people who need food and need a little help. Many times people's paycheck runs out before the month runs out. And the food banks do such a wonderful job, stepping in, and trying to help people in these difficult times," said Dennis Pittman, director of communications at Smithfield.

Petty said it was wonderful to see so many people supporting him and the cause he stands for.

"Smithfield gives us a way, but it is also a reminder to the community they have to do the work. We just bring the product in, Smithfield does, and gives it to the food bank,but everyone here has to do their job," said Petty.

After all the food was moved, fans were able to meet and shake hands with the racing legend.