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.


  1. You did an amazing job, Gay! One oerson said you literally were "pulling food out of thin air!" Can't wait to read the rest of the story!

  2. Those Krystal's were an omen. Just a few days into the build we were having food brought in hourly between meals. I have never seen anything like it. In my pre-Extreme life, I thought 20 pizzas and 200 Chick Fil A sandwiches was a lot of food, A couple hundred hungry workers can run through that in 30 minutes.