Two team members will represent ShopRite of Medford on special-edition Cheerios boxes that call attention to the struggle of being food-insecure, while also thanking people who have worked to make a difference.
Bryan Warsing of Mount Laurel and Patricia Parzyck of Southampton joined colleagues from other ShopRite stores to be pictured on the popular cereal box that has also featured Olympic athletes. The honor reflects the results of a contest co-sponsored by Cheerios-maker General Mills and ShopRite cooperative Wakefern Food Corp.
“Because it is a focus of our company’s philanthropy, we are always aware of food insecurities,” said David Zallie, owner of Zallie-Somerset Inc. and its 11 ShopRite stores. “Many more people felt that insecurity in 2020, so our annual friendly competition among stores took on a deeper meaning.”
To earn a spot on the iconic Cheerios box, ShopRite team members across hundreds of stores collect donations at check-out and host events in stores to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger. Much of that fundraising takes place during September – Hunger Action Month – and the 50 top fundraising stores earn spots on the cereal box.
The special edition Cheerios boxes, to be sold exclusively at ShopRite stores, will be unveiled during in-store celebrations that will be modest due to public health precautions. At ShopRite of Medford (209 Route 70 East), the unveiling will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 27.
Warsing is a 32-year employee who currently is a grocery manager. He has supported Partners In Caring efforts in numerous ways, including building and decorating displays. Parzyck has been a cashier for five years and was nominated for the Cheerios box honor after raising the most money by asking customers to “round up” their receipt totals and donate the change.
To date, ShopRite team members have raised nearly $50 million – money that supports 2,200 charities working to fight hunger.
Some of that funding is distributed to soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, senior citizen centers, and other organizations by the ShopRite Partners In Caring initiative. Stores that score highly in the annual competition not only have team members featured on the cereal box, but they also get to directly designate local organizations to receive donations.
ShopRite of Medford raised $22,764. The store designated the Christian Caring Center in Browns Mills to receive a $500 donation; the remainder will be shared at the discretion of Partners In Caring in the southern New Jersey area.
ShopRite of Medford’s largest Partners In Caring fundraising activity is the annual Labor Day 5K, which winds its way through the historical streets of Medford. “Our customers, community members, and local businesses always come through in support of the 5K,” Zallie said. The event happened in 2020 with social distancing and other modifications, but still attracted the maximum number of runners it could accommodate with those precautions.
The 2020 theme of “Ending Hunger Together” was taken to heart by Zallie-Somerset team members at all of the company’s ShopRite locations. Stores in Chews Landing and Williamstown each will have two team members on the Cheerios box; the store in West Deptford placed fourth in the Wakefern-wide contest to earn spots for four team members. Fundraising efforts at stores in Laurel Hill, Lawnside, Gibbstown, Glassboro, Sicklerville, and West Berlin, as well as a store in Philadelphia, raised a total that topped $118,000.
“This has been a challenging year for our team members, who worked long hours to restock shelves and manage customer flow,” Zallie said. “To have them put forth even more energy to help people in need makes us all very proud. When we say, ‘Ending Hunger Together,’ we really mean it.”