Last month, Panama City, Florida, lost one of their hometown heroes: Julio Narvaez.
As the district manager for Chartwells K-12, Julio spearheaded a movement that has provided 3 million meals to students in need every year for the past decade. Now, the elementary schools in Bay County have come up with their own mission to honor Julio’s legacy: a cereal box competition.
They’re calling it “Julio’s Cereal Challenge.”
Local students throughout the area are collecting as many cereal boxes as they can to donate to local food banks, as well as the nonprofit Blessings in a Backpack. Their ultimate goal is to make Julio proud.
They have a major incentive to claim the prize, as the winning school will be the site of an incredible cereal box domino course, which will be designed by high school engineering and STEM students. Not only that, but they will also livestream a run-through of the course as a celebration of Julio’s amazing life and joyful spirit.
During his time at Chartwells, a dining service committed to providing nutritious meals to the students free of charge. Meanwhile, COVID-19 hit, causing local schools to shut down, but Chartwells kept providing food to the community for free.
That spirit of generosity was true of Julio, too. He once told WJHG in an interview that one of his favorite meal days was “Lucky Tray Day,” when Chartwells would give the kids extra treats and prizes with their meals. The pure joy on his face as he talked about those students said it all.
“Working in elementary schools to get kids everything they needed for food and nutrition was great,” Parker Elementary Principal Chris Coan told News Herald. “He was always the first one to say, ‘Yes, let me help, let me partner with you and the school.'”
When Julio passed away from COVID-19 complications, it was a shock to the local schools, Bay District School officials, and his Chartwells coworkers alike.
“Julio was just passionate about feeding the kids, and what better way to honor Julio than doing an event that helps kids in the community,” said Javier Diaz, the Chartwells director of dining services. “He was very involved with Panama City through their difficult times and he was always there to help.”
“Julio’s Cereal Challenge” has already brought in a 12-case donation from General Mills and a donation of 212 boxes from a nearby Winn-Dixie.
Julio would have been overwhelmed at this outpouring of love and support.
Known as “Aquaman” to some, this local superhero was there for his community through thick and thin, providing feeding programs at holidays and over the summer, coming through with emergency nutrition plans during the pandemic, and showing up every other time the community was in need.
Now, his neighbors are thankful for an opportunity to honor him in the same way.
Be sure to share Julio’s legacy with a friend to spread the love.
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