The Jaguars teamed up with Publix, PepsiCo and Feeding Northeast Florida to provide Publix Holiday meal bags for 1,300 families, seniors and veterans this holiday season. Pajcic & Pajcic Law Firm, Century Ambulance and Stahl Meyer Foods were also supporting partners.
The Jaguar players, THE ROAR of the Jaguar, and other volunteers distribute the meal bags to 28 community partners, loading up trucks and vans for each specific group in need, including area families, seniors and veteran groups.
Volunteers from Feeding Northeast Florida assembled the food, filling Publix reusable holiday bags with 1,300 Publix holiday meals. Families will enjoy a mix of non-perishables, such as canned corn and green beans, stuffing mix, cornbread mix, gravy mix, and fresh foods, including potatoes, carrots, apples and oranges, along with candy canes and a box of cookies. Each family, senior and/or veteran will also receive a $10 Publix food card to buy a meat or other food item of their choice. In addition, PepsiCo will be providing Pepsi and Frito Lay products.
Many first-year Jaguars not from the Sunshine State had never joined forces with Northeast Florida, but were excited to team up on Tuesday.
"Personally, I had never heard of this. But when Adrian and everyone in the [Jaguars] PR Department told me about it, it was something I was definitely interested in," linebacker Austin Calitro said. "[It was] something I helped out with in Seattle and Cleveland [when I played there]. So it was really an opportunity I couldn't pass up."
For rookie wide receiver Michael Walker, a Boston College graduate, his call to serve runs deep.
"BC's motto is 'service to others.' And that's kinda how I've been raised, too," Walker said. "I have a couple adopted brothers and just being able to give back to the community in any way [is important]. Just bringing smiles to people's faces -- it's awesome to be a part of this."
The Jaguars Foundation coordinated with the following nonprofit groups to receive Publix holiday food bags to distribute to families: 5 STAR Veterans Center, The Arc Jacksonville, Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County, Cathedral Residences, Ed White Leadership Academy, Englewood High School, Family Promise, Florida Survivor Outreach Services, Fresh Ministries, Girls Inc., Heart for Children, Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, JDRF, Jewish Family Community Services, L’Arche Harbor House, MaliVai Washington, Matthew Gilbert Middle School, Neighbor to Family, North East Florida Women’s Veteran Group, Rethreaded, Salvation Army, Sanctuary on 8th Street, St. Demetrious Greek Orthodox Church, St. Gerard Campus, Sulzbacher Center, YMCA - Tiger Academy, Touchstone Village, USO of Greater Jacksonville, Wounded Warrior Project and Well Church.