On Monday, Dec. 11, the Jaguars Foundation, presenting sponsor Elior North America and Honorary Chairs Nancy and Gary Chartrand hosted the Taste of the NFL Jacksonville to help raise awareness and dollars around hunger relief. All proceeds from the event benefitted the Taste of the NFL’s Kick Hunger Challenge and the Jaguars Foundation’s hunger relief programs. This includes the Jaguars Holiday Food Distribution, which took place early this week, in partnership with Publix, PepsiCo, Feeding Northeast Florida and Pajcic & Pajcic to distribute 1,200 Publix holiday meals to area families, seniors and veterans during the holiday season.
A cause close to the hearts of many, local chefs from some of the best rated restaurants in Jacksonville came together to donate their time and help raise funds for hunger relief. Providing an elegant three-course meal for guests with the food provided by Sysco, chefs included, Chef Waylon Rivers with Black Sheep Restaurant, Chef Michael McKinney with Restaurant Orsay, Chef Kerri Rogers with Bellwether, Chef Sean Kinoshita with Delaware North, Chef Chris Caracciolo with Elior North America and, special guest of the evening, Executive Chef Jon Buchanan with Third Coast Restaurant, who flew in from Houston, Texas to support the cause. E&J Gallo Winery provided the wine and paired a different wine with each unique course.
The Taste of the NFL Jacksonville event raised more than $100,000 for Jacksonville area hunger relief efforts. In addition to the funds raised, the Jaguars Foundation presented a check to Executive Chef Jon Buchanan in the amount of $10,000 in support of the Houston Food Bank and Keegan Kitchen to help support the victims of Hurricane Harvey.
It was an evening filled with great joy and emotion, as guests heard from Interim CEO of Feeding Northeast Florida Frank Castillo on the startling statistics of hunger issues in our community and across our nation. Guests also got a chance to see firsthand how Feeding Northeast Florida is impacting thousands of families in Jacksonville with a personal story shared by Sergeant Jon Manuel. Sergeant Manuel’s wife was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer, and with the mounting bills, the family could no longer afford groceries. With Feeding Northeast Florida’s assistance, Sergeant Manuel was able to provide his family with groceries every week for an entire year until they were able to get back on their feet. Sergeant Jon Manuel now volunteers twice a week at the food bank giving back to other families in need.
Jaguars players [Tommy Bohanon](http://www.jaguars.com/team/roster/tommy-bohanon/a1218dae-575e-4724-a392-c7feff7e8ea6/ "Tommy Bohanon"), [Josh Lambo](http://www.jaguars.com/team/roster/josh-lambo/39f89cd3-7dc9-4e50-99de-7651b8f72834/ "Josh Lambo"), [Dawuane Smoot](http://www.jaguars.com/team/roster/dawuane-smoot/bec83516-816f-414e-861e-79a5b5fdcad7/ "Dawuane Smoot"), [Blair Brown](http://www.jaguars.com/team/roster/blair-brown/b8d9f840-c3a8-42fd-8caf-3c86620d3365/ "Blair Brown"), Carrol Phillips, AJ Cann, [Jermey Parnell](http://www.jaguars.com/team/roster/jermey-parnell/0ee02dbc-6f6e-4133-a20c-c56a7f61b312/ "Jermey Parnell") and [Tyler Patmon](http://www.jaguars.com/team/roster/tyler-patmon/eb2218b4-3caf-4533-81df-bdab98875230/ "Tyler Patmon") attended the event to show their support of hunger relief in Jacksonville. Premium event sponsors included Honorary Chairs Nancy & Gary Chartrand, the Weaver Family Foundation Fund, Pajcic & Pajcic, Holland & Knight, Bono’s Pit Bar-B-Que, Willie Jewell’s Old School Bar-B-Que, Pepsi, Frito Lay, US Assure, Florida Blue and Smith Gambrell and Russell, LLP.
For more information about Elior North America’s commitment to fighting hunger, please visit http://elior-na.com/elior-cares/.