It’s not every day that you get a request from a volunteer group for ideas for “something big” to partner on, but that’s just what happened with local restaurant group Strategic Hospitality.
After volunteering a few times in our kitchen and gardens, they wanted to work with The Nashville Food Project to involve more of their staff in our work, and to make a splash in the community. Because Strategic Hospitality already has a community relationship with the veteran-services organization Operation Stand Down and because many Strategic Hospitality employees are veterans themselves, it was clear that an event in which their employees could interact with the veterans would be a great opportunity to build relationships over a community meal, especially this time of year as we were approaching the July 4th holiday.
Last Wednesday, our three organizations teamed up to host a special nearly-July 4th celebration with the Operation Stand Down veterans and the employees at Strategic Hospitality. The Nashville Food Project provided the meal, Operation Stand Down provided the space, and Strategic Hospitality provided fun games and activities!
The day started when Chef Jason Brumm, Strategic Hospitality’s Culinary Director, and his team arrived at our Woodmont kitchen and began preparing a hearty meal of chicken stir-fry loaded with vegetables over rice with Strategic Hospitality’s incredible cauliflower salad and a cookie donated from Christie Cookie Co. We led the chefs through the garden out back, where they snipped tons of fresh herbs to liven up the meal, and then they were off!
At around 11:00AM, volunteers from American Legion Post 5 arrived to load up the food truck and share the meal. These veterans volunteer regularly on our trucks through FiftyForward’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), and it just so happened that their week fell during this great event to celebrate our vets.
By 11:30 the RSVP volunteers were ready to share this tasty meal with the veterans at Operation Stand Down, the surrounding community and the Strategic Hospitality employees. Looking through the crowd, it was clear that relationships were forming over this meal. All in all, this was a great event! Thanks to everyone who played a part.