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Local Rotary feeds health care workers while supporting Black-owned businesses

Group says effort designed to combine 2 main societal issues of 2020

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly 100 meals were donated to health care workers and hospital staff Saturday at UF Health Jacksonville as part of the Rotary Feeding Heroes service project.

Rotary District 6970 Alumni Association used donated funds to purchase meals from two local Black-owned businesses: Taste Grace, a BBQ food truck, and Mr. Potato Spread, a restaurant and food truck that specializes in gourmet baked potatoes.

“The intention today is really to connect the dots between the two main societal issues of the year -- the pandemic and the social justice movement -- and really demonstrate the power of Rotary to advance peace and goodwill in the community," said Jon Blauvelt, president of Rotary District 6970 Alumni Association.

UF Health staff enjoy a free lunch courtesy of a local Rotary alumni association, which purchased the meals from two local Black-owned businesses.
UF Health staff enjoy a free lunch courtesy of a local Rotary alumni association, which purchased the meals from two local Black-owned businesses. (WJXT)

Blauvelt said Saturday’s free lunches for essential health care workers were one way his group is showing gratitude.

“The intention is to say thank you to those who have demonstrated a herculean effort amid the last six to eight months to take care of those in our community who are sick, and then also show support to the Black community and to show them we are there for those in our community that are challenged during this challenging time,” Blauvelt said.

Lakita Apann, co-founder of Mr. Potato Spread, said being part of an effort that feeds local health care heroes means everything.

“Intentionality matters. It’s important,” Spann said. “I think it starts with the heart, and so when people specifically are comfortable enough to even say we selected you because you’re a Black-owned business or we selected UF because of what they are doing for COVID. I think those words matter, those things are important and it’s OK and important to say why it is you’re supporting, because those things matter.”


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