published Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Chattanooga-area companies feed volunteers as Extreme Makeover build falls behind schedule


by Andy Johns
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    Staff Photo by Dan Henry/The Chattanooga Times Free Press Construction crews lay the foundation Tuesday at Michael and Cindy Sharrock's residence in Rossville during the third day of filming "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." The house is being customized for the Sharrock's 9-year-old son, Patrick, who has brittle bone disease.

ROSSVILLE -- While an army of volunteers races to complete a house for the Sharrock family in Catoosa County, behind-the-scenes planners are finding the appetites are almost as extreme as the home makeover.

Over the seven-day project, thousands of volunteers and crew members will eat truckloads of food and drink from local restaurants such as Lupi's Pizza, Chattanooga Coffee and Mojo Burrito.

"Those numbers are getting pretty big," said Amanda Varnell, food services coordinator for the project, as she left a staging area to deliver a load of sandwiches from Panera Bread. "The catering tent has been an event within the event."

Varnell and other workers are responsible for feeding 200 to 300 volunteers five meals around the clock at the site, located on Monahaw Avenue in Rossville.

Abby Shipley, community relations coordinator for Earth Fare on Gunbarrel Road, said the store would continue to bring four cases of fresh fruit to the site every day for workers. She estimated they will also give out 14,000 bottles of water.

"Earth Fare is a company that is all about serving the community," she said. "This just fits in perfectly with what we're wanting to do."

Evelyn Wheeler, co-owner of Chattanooga Coffee Co., said it was an easy decision to get involved with the build.

"We jumped on the bandwagon right away," she said. "We've been here every morning, every afternoon and every night."

The company roasts and grinds coffee every morning for the volunteers and brews it with equipment borrowed from Girls Preparatory School.

The caffeine from the coffee was much appreciated by volunteers who got off to a chilly start Tuesday morning.

Around 1 a.m. Tuesday, build leaders called in an engineer and loads of gravel when they found an old septic system under the house. Taking care of that issue slowed things down by a few hours.

Lead builder Craig Smith said the team had hoped to have the prefabricated foundation in place Tuesday morning, but the huge concrete segments were not in place until around 2 p.m.

"We're a little behind," Smith said. "It just adds to the excitement."

Even with the delays, he said the crews already had done about three weeks' worth of work by 10 a.m.

1,260 doughnuts from Julie Darling Donuts

1,100 Mini MoonPies from Chattanooga Bakery

6,000 cups of coffee from Chattanooga Coffee Co.

4,000 apples, pears, oranges and bananas from Earth Fare

3,000 packs of popcorn from Old Mill Kettle Corn

300 hot dogs from Good Dog

14,000 bottles of water from Earth Fare

At about 8 p.m. crews had six portable lights set up shining on the construction site, where workers were installing the subfloor as more than 100 spectators watched.

A few details on the finished project emerged just before noon when celebrity designer Leigh Anne Tuohy and her high-heeled work boots gave a few clues about the house.

She said the new house will be a single story, with wider hallways, all-level surfaces and rounded corners to keep it safer for Patrick Sharrock, the 9-year-old boy with brittle bone disease at the center of the project.

Tuohy said the front yard will be leveled and designers Ed Sanders and Xzibit have a project plan for the backyard if they have time to finish it.

Contact staff writer Andy Johns at ajohns@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6324.

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about Andy Johns...

Andy began working at the Times Free Press in July 2008 as a general assignment reporter before focusing on Northwest Georgia and Georgia politics in May of 2009. Before coming to the Times Free Press, Andy worked for the Anniston Star, the Rome News Tribune and the Campus Carrier at Berry College, where he graduated with a communications degree in 2006. He is pursuing a master’s degree in business administration at the University of Tennessee ...

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I am so proud to live in the Tennessee Valley. Best folks ever live here.

February 16, 2011 at 4:49 p.m.
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