By NewsLine Staff

The Rotary Club of Mandarin is a community service organization; its product is serving. Formed 45 years ago and part of Rotary International, the local club has approximately 59 like-minded members who enjoy helping others and living out Rotary’s motto of “Service above Self.”

Recently, the Rotary Club of Mandarin donated a brand new, badly needed Ford van to the Mandarin Food Bank to transport food products from local supermarkets and other donors for distribution to families in need. The volume of food needed during the coronavirus pandemic has increased dramatically, and the transport van will be invaluable in sustaining Food Bank operations. 

Havana Printing 904-447-5021

The funds to purchase the van were raised by the Rotary Club in its annual charity fundraising event. Rotary Club member Ed Washington arranged for the van purchase from Bozard Ford of St. Augustine, which provided the van at a significantly reduced price as its contribution to the Food Bank. Rotary Club President Bill Gowan arranged with FastSigns of Jacksonville to have the van “wrapped” as a Food Bank vehicle. FastSigns did that work at half price as its contribution to the Food Bank.

On Nov. 23 and Dec. 18, just prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas, 14 members of the Rotary Club of Mandarin assisted the Mandarin Food Bank in delivering hundreds of turkeys and dinners to community members in need. 

During the 2020 holiday season, 17 members of the Rotary Club of Mandarin raised money for the Salvation Army by ringing Christmas bells and collecting donations from customers at the Mandarin Oaks Publix. This is an annual community service project for the Rotary Club. 

On Nov. 21 and 22, members of the Rotary Club of Mandarin and their families built a wheelchair ramp free of charge at the home of mobility challenged Franklin Owen and his wife Lula. This construction project was part of the club’s ongoing program to build at least one ramp per calendar quarter for local citizens in need. The club works in partnership with Hart Felt Ministry, which identifies worthy recipients and funds material costs for construction of the ramps by members of the Rotary Club.

The Rotary Club of Mandarin is a community service organization that meets at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesdays for breakfast at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center on Hartley Road in Mandarin. Members may attend in person or via Zoom. If you would like to learn more about the club and its opportunities to serve the community, contact Membership Chairman Wes Caldwell at or visit for more information.

Photo courtesy Rotary Club of Mandarin

Associate Director of Operations Burt Davidson, who accepted the van on behalf of the Food Bank, Rotary Club member Mark O’Connor, who works closely with the Food Bank to coordinate club assistance, and Rotary Club President Bill Gowan.

  • Jacksonville Gem & Mineral Society 33rd annual Gem & Mineral show & Sale March 26th - 28th
  • Harbor Chase of Mandarin! Independent, Assisted Living and memory care residences!
  • Let them know you are open for business! Advertise in our may issue!
  • Support community journalism! Subscribe to the Mandarin Newsline today!
  • Havana Printing 904-447-5021