PAUL RIDGEWAY, DIRECTOR OF transportation for the NFL for the Super Bowl is pictured with several event security staff, and Captain Joe Whipple of the Victor Valley Corps (right).
BY KATHY D. RIES –
Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego had a new twist this year–the presence of The Salvation Army working with the NFL to provide one of the services the Army does best: meeting the need to feed people in the community.
“I’ve been involved with the Army all my life, and my experience is that they are number one at serving others,” said Paul Ridgeway, whose company was in charge of transportation for the NFL for Super Bowl, and who approached the Army for assistance.
Guests for three meals a day were the event security, San Diego Police Department, San Diego Fire Department, traffic control, and on game day, included bus and limousine drivers.
Beginning January 17, 75 Salvation Army volunteers worked on mobile canteens from Escondido, El Cajon and Riverside, providing 14,500 meals at two major sites, the NFL Experience at the downtown Embarcadero Marina Park, and Qualcomm Stadium. Added later was the incident command center downtown.
No Salvation Army breakfast is complete without doughnuts and coffee, and there were muffins, pastries, yogurt, fresh fruit, hot chocolate, fruit juice and lots of water. For lunch there were sandwiches, chips, cookies and beverages. And dinner offered something new for our guests, “heater meals” with five different menu selections. The meals would heat themselves in about 15 minutes, and provide a hot meal on those chilly evenings on the bay and at the stadium. All Salvation Army expenses were reimbursed by the NFL.
On Super Bowl Sunday, the temperature rose to mid-80s, and trained Salvation Army volunteers shifted gears and began helping several of the event workers who were overcome by the heat, helping them cool off and providing first-aid, if needed.
Thanks to all the volunteers, Chef Mike Connelly and the EDS officers and staff for a great job. The NFL’s experience with The Salvation Army was a winner, which opens doors for future Super Bowls in other cities.