Nashville First Responders Get Donated Feast After Stadium Downsizes Event Due To Coronavirus

Because of fears of coronavirus outbreaks, public events are being canceled across the United States—which leaves a lot of folks trying to figure out what to do with event supplies such as food. In the case of an Ohio sports event that was canceled, the stadium decided to send event food—which was intended to help feed at least 200,000 attendants—to first responders and tornado victims in Nashville.

The Greater Columbus Convention Center (GCCC) had ordered the food for the annual Arnold Sports Festival (which includes a bodybuilding competition named after Arnold Schwarzenegger—who made an appearance this year). However, the Ohio Department of Health made the decision to prohibit general spectators from attending the festival.


So that meant there was a ton of food—and not enough people to eat it.

No big deal. The GCCC loaded up a truck filled with sandwiches, salads, fruit, yogurt, rice, chips, and bottled water and sent it to Nashville. Executive Chef Matt Smith, Executive Chef Matt Smith, Executive Sous Chef Shannon Gerasimchik and Pastry Chef Stephanie DeCaprio are also traveling to Nashville to help prepare meals.

“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 foodservice provider Levys. “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.”

“We’re accustomed to accommodating ever-changing client needs at the GCCC,” said GCCC General Manager John R. Page. “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.”

Patricia Grisafi

Written by Patricia Grisafi