Two ShopRite Workers Get Cheery Reward for Fighting hunger
By Gretchen Metz
Daily Local News, Chester County
WEST GOSHEN — Getting your picture on a Cheerios box is pretty special, especially when it is a reward for helping community food banks.
Just ask Stephanie Jeter and Ralph McCann. They work at ShopRite in West Goshen, one of 45 ShopRite stores in six states that won the company’s Partners In Caring challenge. General Mills is ShopRite’s partner in the Partners for Caring.
As a reward, two ShopRite employees at each of the 45 stores were featured in a group shot on the back of 200,000 special-edition Cheerios boxes.
“General Mills gave up a valuable piece of real estate that’s usually reserved for athletes,” said Orien Reid, ShopRite spokeswoman, and formerly a consumer reporter for Channel 10, at the official unveiling of the cereal boxes on Friday.
McCann, the grocery manager, said so far about 30 or 40 cases of the specialty boxes have been sold at the West Goshen store.
“But I haven’t bought one for myself,” confessed McCann, 50, a ShopRite employee for 34-years.
Each year ShopRite and General Mills sponsor Partners In Caring, a five-week contest in September – National Hunger Awareness Month – to raise funds for the food banks in the communities ShopRite serves with its 240 stores.
This year the companies issued a new challenge to ShopRite associates – raise $1 million to support food banks. ShopRite associates met the challenge in customer donations at check-out and in creative in-store events.
At the ShopRite in West Goshen, Jeter and McCann led the charge for water ice, grilled hotdogs and pretzel sales on the sidewalk in front of the store on Saturdays in September.
There was even a basketball dribbling contest where the store’s frozen food manager dribbles a basketball 1,500 times on the sidewalk while customers paid money — donated to Partners in Caring — to guess when he would miss a dribble.
McCann’s job was to count the bounces.
Employees paid a $2 donation to wear their own cloths on dress-down Fridays and customers donated money at the registers.
In all, West Goshen’s ShopRite raised $6,000.
In addition, each store was awarded $500 to donate to a hunger-fighting charity of its choice by ShopRite. On Friday, that money was handed to West Chester United Methodist Food Cupboard.
Philabundance, Mt. Carmel Church and The Lord’s Pantry also received donations.
At each of the 45 winning stores, two associates were selected by their peers to be featured on a special-edition Cheerios box.
Staff at ShopRite in West Chester selected Jeter of Philadelphia’s Mayfair community, the store’s front end manger, and associate McCann of West Whiteland, to be honored.
Both Jeter and McCann said they were proud to be chosen by their co-workers.
Both also liked the pictures on the Cheerios boxes.
“It’s a real nice picture; they had a professional photographer,” McCann said. “We went to New Jersey for the photo shoot.”
Likewise, Jeter appreciated the Hollywood treatment.
“I loved the picture and I liked the day,” said Jeter, 45 and a five-year ShopRite employee. “We got to meet all the people who worked as hard as we did.”
Both said Partners in Caring is a cause close to their hearts.
McCann said he was glad the store was involved and looked forward to “doing it all over again in September.”
Jeter said she believes that “no one knows someone else’s struggles, no one knows who’s going to bed hungry.”
Jeter said everyone in the store participated.
“I love my job, I love the people I work with,” Jeter said. “Once I started preaching, … (co-workers) jumped on the bus.”
Jeter is already in gear for the next Partners in Caring challenge, autographing the Cheerios boxes for a $1 donation on Friday.
ShopRite Partners In Caring is a year-round, community-based, hunger-fighting initiative that works with more than 50 food industry manufacturers to provide more than $2 million annually to qualified charitable agencies in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Since its inception in 1999, ShopRite Partners In Caring has donated $27 million to more than 1,700 charities.
Reid said though Chester County is considered wealthy, there is still hunger here.
“About 82,000 people don’t have adequate amount of food to keep from being hungry,” Reid said.