Sunday, January 29, 2012

Extreme Food Day 4

Day 4 was a tough one for me. I woke up in the RV (a donation from Buddy Gregg) with a sore & swollen right foot. I rested for a bit longer than usual before heading over to the Food Tent, where the Food Team was de-boxing lunches, which means wrapping sandwiches from box lunches in plastic wrap and putting the fruit salad, pasta salad, and cookies in containers for other use. Here are some de-boxed sandwiches ready for delivery to the job site.

And, by the way, men apparently don't like pimento cheese. At the end of the day, that's all that was left: 4-5 pimento cheese sandwiches. We also started the day with a supply of wrapped BBQ sandwiches.

You'd think we'd have been set, right? Wrong. It was clear by mid-afternoon that even though we had meals coming at 6 pm, 10 pm, and 2 am from Pellissippi State Culinary Institute, we were going to run out of food during the next 12 hours. It's not because PSCC didn't bring a lot of food; it's because there were simply more workers & volunteers than the Food Team had been told would be there.

I let Cynthia Moxley, PR Coordinator for EMHE, know of the problem, and an hour after she posted the message on Facebook, David Neusel, owner of Big Ed's Pizza in Oak Ridge, showed up with 25 pies. His friend, Mike Daniels, didn't let our temporary hard hat shortage keep him from delivering pizzas to the job site.

These guys took the pizzas to the workers on site and returned very quickly with empty boxes. Amazing how quickly 25 boxes of pizza disappeared on this work site.

Pellissippi State showed up with chips & salsa, burritos, and bread pudding. Colorful chips.

Volunteer Aimee Rovane eating a burrito.

Yummy bread pudding.

We were glad to have a late night surprise sandwich delivery from Nixon's Deli.

Krispy Kreme donated doughnuts a couple of times--with one condition: Volunteers had to wear Krispy Kreme hats while delivering doughnuts to the job site. Here's one of our favorite Food Volunteers, Carl Loy, gamely wearing the KK chapeau. He was a very welcome sight to the late night workers.

By this time, it was clear I needed to return to the RV and rest my foot. Food Team member Janet Testerman brought me ice and socks and made me put my swollen foot up.

She showed off her own alpaca socks--very cool. Hope our friend (and former Knox Mag Art Director) Murry Keith sees these--he has a thing about alpaca.

My foot's pretty swollen, but you gotta love the cute reindeer socks she brought me! Since I'm a holiday minimalist, Janet had fun bringing me socks with holiday motifs--holly, valentines, pumpkins--all borrowed from her mother's holiday sock drawer.

Food Team member Andie Ray took a break to visit me. Andie wins the prize for most stylish hard hat--topped with her own furry hat.

Day 4 ended with lots of laughing about reindeer socks and Andie's hat combo. Sadly, it went downhill from there. Stay tuned.

Extreme Food Day 3

Day 3 was a long one.

Because the VIP Tent was too mud-bound for its first scheduled event, we invited VIP Coordinator, Gina Changas, to move the VIP luncheon to the Food Tent. We created a special two-table VIP section, decorated with centerpieces we pulled from the snack table.

Food Team member Becky Hancock helped build a table out of cases of paper towels--for the box lunches from The Lunch Box--that's what's in the Sysco Boxes.

The VIP hostesses arrived and cheerfully pitched in as we set up for the luncheon.

Ronda Rice carried ice to the VIP beverage barrel.

These VIP guests appreciated our efforts: Sara Hedstrom Pinnell of Hedstrom Landscape Design sat with Yvette Moore, Billy Long, Jeramy Hanseen, and Patti Shuler of Turkey Creek Tinting. That's VIP Coordinator, Gina Changas, standing with them.

Charlotte Jensen and Melissa McCay, the popular Chick-Fil-A ladies, shared space with the VIP Luncheon.

Meanwhile at the other end of the Food Tent, the lunch ladies (JoAnna Clasberry, Cindy Gramals, Angela Walters, Georgiana Vines, and Ann Durall) served a hearty lunch to workers and volunteers.

Food Tent volunteers Ann Durall and Terry Finnerty greeted Scott Branscom,who was making a rare Food Tent appearance.

A lot of Scott's meals were delivered to him at the work site. Lots of busy workers didn't take breaks to walk to the Food Tent. Here's a group heading down to the house with meals, beverages, and snacks. That's Food Team member Janet Testerman on the far right holding a case of bottled water.

Charlotte and Melissa always saved some sandwiches to take to workers.

Here's the sign Chick-Fil-A left when they went home every day.

Food Volunteer Cindy Gramals was joined for lunch by husband Ted, a construction volunteer. They were a sweet couple.

Think it's been a long day in the Food Tent? There were many more hours to go and much more work to do. We boxed up some goodies for Second Harvest.

VG's Bakery delivered cookies and scones.

Next up was replenishing the snack table, using snacks pulled from the supply tent. That's Food Team member Sam Maynard on the right. No mixing of Oreos with potato chips, Sam!

Crystal Springs delivered some water for use by Green Mountain Coffee. There were two deliveries daily, That's a lot of coffee, people!

By mid-afternoon, we were running low on food. Here's Food Team member Janet Testerman turning 25 sandwiches from Subway into 50 sandwiches from Subway.

Subway was our "panic button food." They offered us 300 sandwiches when we called them before the build, and we worked out a deal: Instead of 300 sandwiches at once, we called them in emergencies and were able to get 25-50 sandwiches with only 30 minutes' notice whenever we needed them. We needed them a lot.

We had a beverage emergency when crews stacked large doors and windows against the Pepsi truck to dry. Pepsi parked a truck full of products on site for our use all week. We could still get to the sodas and water, but the doors and windows were blocking the bay where the energy drinks and gum were stored.

There's a Pepsi Truck behind those doors. Turns out men will move mountains--and mountains of doors--to get to energy drinks.

Score!!!! Those are cases of Amp, Pepsi's energy drink.

Meanwhile, back at the Food Tent, meals at 6 pm, 10 pm, and 2 am, were provided by Holiday Inn downtown.

The gumbo was fabulous!

Absolutely NOTHING went to waste in the Food Tent. Here Food Team member Chris Kahn wraps up BBQ plates-to-go using leftovers from a dinner in the VIP Tent catered by Dead End BBQ. The VIP Tent shared their leftovers with us, and in return we sent them baked goods for their snack & coffee table.

Food Team member Rosa Mar assists with the foil wrap.

Day 3 was a long day in the Food Tent, but it was a good day: No one went hungry or thirsty.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Extreme Food Day 2

Green Mountain, much anticipated providers of our hot beverages, arrived and built what we dubbed "the great wall of coffee." This is just  a teeny tiny section of the wall of coffee.

Green Mountain is not only providing beverages but cups, stirrers, and friendly staff around the clock. Weigels is providing little cups of Half & Half--4,000 of them. And I'll bet we use every one.

Next to arrive was Melissa McCay from Chick Fil A. They offered us a thousand sandwiches, which we decided to spread over several days.

The Chick Fil A ladies have been a favorite on the job site--who doesn't love a regular or spicy chicken sandwich from Chick Fil A? I try to grab a spicy one from them when I can.

Next up were the folks from Parkwest Hospital--and, please, no jokes about hospital food. They have a well-deserved reputation for serving great food. They may have to serve jello and consomme to post-surgery patients, but everyone else gets fantastic food, and I'm sure even the jello and consomme are not bad. They served meals at 6 pm, 10 pm, and 2 am the same night. Thanks, Parkwest.

It was all good, but the desserts created a buzz. First off, there was this great cake.

Then these lovely nibbles.

And great people

 I don't eat many sweets, but these were great enough that I created my own dessert platter with slivers of my favorites.

I caught Volunteer Gary Bentley and Food Team Member Pamela Chips during an Extreme moment: an extremely good time before they got back to work.

On my way home to the RV (donated by Buddy Gregg) that is my home for the next week, I ran into Brad Brinker, security guard, enjoying dinner from Parkwest.

Brinker liked the salad, ravioli, and bread and didn't even mind the location. He said, " I always eat by the side of the road in the rain--it's fun."

Brinker's right--It's fun (and a little crazy) and sometimes by the side of the road (in the rain)--that's what we're having.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Extreme Food Day 1

When Christi Branscom asked me to be the Food Coordinator for the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Knoxville build, I understood it would be a huge undertaking, but I like a challenge, so I said yes. After a couple of months of planning, I arrived at the build site Tuesday, January 10 at 2 pm to see exactly what I had gotten myself (and a dozen friends who agreed to be on the Food Team + many more volunteers and donors) into.

The first challenge was getting deliveries to the site. First up were the large ice chest from Harman Ice and the Pepsi truck, both fully loaded and both on site for the entire build. They were followed by English Mountain Water, the refrigerated truck Sysco donated, and Bonanza Produce. The job site presented some challenges for deliveries, but we got it done.

As deliveries got underway, I checked out the catering tent and supply tent and welcomed the first volunteers, Dani Watson and Jessica Wheeler. Like everyone I've encountered on site, they were smiling and happy to be here.

The first Food Team members to show were Sam Maynard and Karen Kluge.

  We were scheduled to serve three meals that night. At 6 pm Pizza Hut--more on these fabulous people later.

At 10 pm we welcomed Salsaritas.

Their food was a hit with this group, who described themselves as "skilled floaters" who said they signed on for the project "to help and make a difference." Pictured below are Payton Cooper, Jason Scruggs, Nathan Evers, and Daniel Weatherstone.

Trio Cafe on Market Square dropped off sandwiches to be served at 2 am.

We thought we were set for the night, but workers kept showing up, so we did what any Knoxvillian in search of late night sustenance does: we went out and got some Krystals.

Security guard Junior Thornton, who has worked on many EMHE projects, had never had a Krystal--I think he enjoyed his first one.

We thought needing emergency Krystals was pretty funny. Who in Knoxville hasn't needed Krystals? Little did we know that this was just the beginning of a quest for more and more food to feed the hardworking people at the EMHE build. And the great people of this area have come through--over and over again.

Between 4-6 am, things were a little slow. We had expected to be cataloging and organizing supplies, but it turned out that most of those deliveries were delayed until the following day. The ever-resourceful Food Team members kept themselves busy. Karen practiced balancing a banana on her nose.

Sam grabbed a couple of oranges and declared he was a bug--as if we would allow bugs in our food tent.

Only 28 hours in...and much more to come. An extreme food time--That's what we're having.