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Raw Juce Partners With House of Athlete to Help Feed Florida Healthcare Workers


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NFL veteran and House of Athlete founder Brandon Marshall, left, stands with a healthcare worker at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, for a food donation event with Raw Juce.

Lifestyle wellness brand House of Athlete—founded by NFL veteran Brandon Marshall—recently teamed up with Raw Juce, a South Florida-based concept that offers organic cold-pressed juices smoothies, acai bowls and other organic foods. Their goal is to raise enough money to purchase and donate at least 30,000 Raw Juce meals to South Florida’s healthcare workers. To kick off the initiative, both Raw Juce and House of Athlete donated $5,000.

“The food in hospitals isn’t always healthy or organic,” said Jeff Levine, CEO of Raw Juce. “And these people need to nourish their bodies with healthy, organic food to be in tip-top shape. If they’re not eating or sleeping right, we need to figure out a way to get them those nourishing foods going forward, and we’re going to figure that out.”

The idea came from Tricia Krefetz, a Raw Juce customer who started her own GoFundMe campaign to feed healthcare workers. She contacted Raw Juce and partnered up to serve 50 meals to healthcare workers at Boca Regional Hospital. After working with Krefetz, Raw Juce reached out to Marshall and began a partnership with House of Athlete.

So far, they’ve served more than 4,000 front-line workers a Raw Juce meal. Marshall and House of Athlete provides the food truck and labor, while Raw Juce provides the food. Marshall, a wide receiver who played for the Miami Dolphins, recruited some of his NFL friends to help hand out food at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital in Hollywood, Florida, including Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs and Jerry Jeudy, a wide receiver for the Denver Broncos.

In order to provide their food, Raw Juce uses donated funds from a GoFundMe account called Nourish and Recover the Frontlines of South Florida. Its raised more than $30,000 out of a $100,000 goal, and 100 percent of funds go to providing meals. Additionally, anyone who contributes will receive a 25-cent credit in the Raw Juce app for every dollar donated—a good incentive and way for Raw Juce to subtly advertise amid a pandemic. 

Raw Juce first opened in 2013 and has nine corporate locations in South Florida and another under construction, plus it has sold two franchise agreements. Though sales are down about 35 percent, Levine is confident they’re in a good position to bounce back strong.

“People have to build up their immunity systems, and that’s what we do,” Levine said. “Our food helps you fight off viruses and diseases and it tastes good, so hopefully it won’t just be a fad and people will continue to realize how important it is to put clean, organic food in their bodies.”

Last year, Raw Juce bought a 40-acre farm in Georgia where it grows fruit and other ingredients to use in smoothies and acai bowls. It expects to have 800,000 pounds of organic raw juice product delivered to Florida in the next few weeks.

“We’re probably the only company in the country that has a complete vertical integration,” Levine said. “We own an organic food distribution company and now a farm, and from the farm we can get those ingredients into our products within three days. I don’t think there’s anyone else who can say that.”

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Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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