Convention Center reaches out to neighbor in need

0 Comments 📅November 29th, 2011, 17:26

After four months of sharing our kitchen at the Knoxville Convention Center, Mobile Meals has set up operations in the kitchen of the former convention center space below the Holiday Inn.

The spring storms that ripped through Knoxville damaging many homes and businesses caused the ceiling in the Mobile Meals Kitchen to collapse, making their space unusable.

So since July, Executive Chef Chris Moore and his staff here at the Center have been making room in our already busy kitchen for the Mobile Meals kitchen staff to prepare the 1800 meals they provide each day for area homebound seniors.

When the city informed us that CAC was searching for a temporary space to prepare meals, my staff and I put our heads together to see what we could do. We knew sharing space would be tight, but we were not going to let the 1,800 people in our community who count on Mobile Meals go hungry.

We decided we would do whatever it took to make space available for their staff and equipment and help them through this crisis. Since our kitchen was already set up to serve a large number of people, Mobile Meals was actually able to move in that very weekend and continue service without a single missed meal.

But there were some difficult logistics involved. Mobile Meals had to place a refrigerator truck in our loading bay to keep food fresh and we turned meeting rooms into temporary food storage areas. Then once meals were prepared, they had to be shipped to another location for the Mobile Meals carriers to pick them up for distribution.

We soon discovered that the damage to the kitchens at Mobile Meals was so extensive that it will be nearly a year before the service can return to their own space.

So we began working with CAC Executive Director Barbara Kelly and her staff to find another kitchen that would accommodate the service. We found a kitchen large enough right next door on the site of the old convention center. It took a little work to get that facility up and running again, but now they have settled into a space which will work well until they can return to their own facility.

I am so glad we have been able to help Mobile Meals continue to provide this important service during a very difficult time. Being a good community partner is an important part of our mission at the Knoxville Convention Center.

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