When COVID-19 virus concerns resulted in an Ohio Department of Health order prohibiting general spectators from attending the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival in customary fashion, the GCCC had to consider what to do with food ordered to accommodate the more than 200,000 people annually attending the event.
“While we were waiting for the press conference to start on Tuesday regarding the Arnold Sports Festival, all the news coverage was about the tornado in Nashville,” said Molly Dale, general manager for Levy, the GCCC’s food service provider. “We thought that if the Arnold Sports Festival situation unfolds the way we think it will, we wanted something positive to happen to the food that could not be repurposed.”
Knowing that many restaurants in Columbus would be donating leftover food to local charities, the GCCC decided to send its excess food to a site affected by a natural disaster – Nashville.
Driving separately to Nashville to help unload the truck, prepare and serve the meal are Executive Chef Matt Smith, Executive Sous Chef Shannon Gerasimchik and Pastry Chef Stephanie DeCaprio. They will return to Columbus Sunday morning.
The food donation includes chicken salad sandwiches, egg salad sandwiches, mixed green salad, fresh fruit, yogurt, vegetable medley, brown rice, potato chips and bottled water. The donation is estimated to weigh more than a ton.
The Levy team members from Columbus contacted Levy’s executive chef at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Mark Lloyd, to offer their assistance. Lloyd connected the Columbus team to the field operations director of Operation BBQ Relief to develop a plan.
“We’re accustomed to accommodating everchanging client needs at the GCCC. When the unique circumstances affecting the Arnold Sports Festival this year came to fruition, we were proud to be able to send excess food to assist Nashville residents impacted by true devastation while we focus our efforts here on supporting the Arnold Sports Festival in its revised format,” said GCCC General Manager John R. Page. “This special effort augments our catering partner’s existing charitable practice of providing food donations to Food Rescue locally throughout the year.”
The award-winning, 1.8 million-square-foot Greater Columbus Convention Center offers 373,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, 75 meeting rooms and a total of 114,000 square feet of ballroom space among three ballrooms. The facility is owned and developed by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority and managed by ASM Global.
ASM Global is the world’s leading provider of innovative venue services and live experiences. The company was formed by the combination of AEG Facilities and SMG, global leaders in venue and event strategy and management. The company’s elite venue network spans five continents, with a portfolio of more than 300 of the world’s most prestigious arenas, stadiums, convention and exhibition centers, and performing arts venues. From Aberdeen to Anchorage, and Sydney to Stockholm, its venues connect people through the unique power of live experiences.
The ASM Global diverse portfolio of clients benefits from the company’s depth of resources and unparalleled experience, expertise and creative problem-solving. Each day, the company’s 61,000 passionate employees around the world deliver locally tailored solutions and cutting-edge technologies to deliver maximum results for venue owners and amazing experiences for guests. By consistently looking for new ways to envision, innovate and empower the spaces and places that bring people together, ASM Global elevates the human spirit while delivering the highest value for all stakeholders. For more information, please visit www.asmglobal.com.