JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, today the Jacksonville Jaguars joined the First Coast Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (FCHCC) in recognizing 10 future leaders and giving back to more than 200 deserving local families at a food giveaway at the Roca De Salvacion Church in the Arlington area.
The Jaguars annually sponsor the FCHCC's gala to recognize 10 exceptional Hispanic and Latino students with college scholarships. When the gala was postponed due to COVID, the Jaguars, FCHCC and the scholarship recipients partnered with Feeding Northeast Florida (FNEF) to create today's food distribution event in recognition of September also being Hunger Awareness Month.
"I think it's a great experience to help out and feed Jacksonville residents," said scholarship recipient Nathanael Hernandez-Carias, who drove from school at the University of Central Florida to participate in today's event. "I was so excited about the scholarship because it will help me pay for my books, my dorm and my tuition so I don't have to worry about that. I can volunteer more and be more active in the community."
According to FNEF, between March and July of this year, 10.8 million meals have been distributed throughout Northeast Florida, which is an 82 percent increase from last year, in need as a result of the pandemic. Through the support of the Jaguars and other corporate partners, more than 200 Hispanic and Latino families received a two-week supply of groceries from Feeding Northeast Florida including free produce, dairy and paper products.
Former Jaguars WR Arrelious Benn and his wife joined Jaxson de Ville and members of THE ROAR in volunteering for the food distribution alongside the scholarship recipients.
"We're here to be servant leaders in these trying times dealing with COVID," said Benn. "Things aren't normal for people in their everyday lives. For us to help them with their groceries and their needs and to be here representing the Jaguars along with the kids who won the awards is just amazing."
Through the support of the Jaguars and other partners, a total of $20,000 in scholarships were presented to 10 deserving local students prior to today's community service project.
Student Name - University/College
Andrew Lopez / University of Pennsylvania
Mya Lynn Cruz / University of North Florida
Michaella Huertas / Northeastern University
Nathanael Hernandez-Carias / University of Central Florida
Yessenia Sierra / Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Jonathan Lopez / Florida State University
Natalia Labrador Duarte / Valdosta State University
Emily Serrano / Florida Atlantic University
Abigail Hernandez-Carias / University of Central Florida
Nicholas Leonard / University of North Florida