Hunger Hits Home for West Deptford ShopRite Employees
Two longtime ShopRite of West Deptford employees appear on the back of a Cheerios box in recognition of their work to end hunger in South Jersey.
Laura Wilson doesn't have to look far to see the need for the money she helps raise to combat hunger in South Jersey.
Some of the 26-year ShopRite employee's coworkers are among those who struggle to make ends meet despite being employed. That's not to mention the thousands of other people Food Bank of South Jersey serves in four counties.
"We have a lot of people who work here alone (who) go to the food bank," said Wilson.
Wilson and a co-worker at ShopRite of West Deptford on Route 45, Danielle Waters, were honored in a special way for their fundraising efforts through ShopRite's Partners in Caring program.
They're among fellow ShopRite employees from 250 stores across the Northeast who appear on the back of a limited-edition Cheerios box being sold at Shoprites throughout March.
The employees raised a total of $1.25 million for area food banks during September, which is National Hunger Awareness Month.
Wilson, who lives in Mantua, and Waters, a Turnersville resident, were recognized Wednesday during a ceremony at the store.
The West Deptford store raised $19,521 this past September, which was donated to Food Bank of South Jersey. The store raised the second highest amount among all ShopRites in the Delaware Valley, and the seventh highest of all the grocery chain's stores.
The money will go a long way toward feeding the hungry in South Jersey, said Sabine Mehnert, the food bank's community engagement coordinator.
Every day, 173,000 people—1 in 6—go hungry in South Jersey, Menhert said at Wednesday's ceremony. Of those, 57,000 are children.
That's why ShopRite's charity work with General Mills, which makes Cheerios, is so important, she said.
In September, Wilson and Waters helped raise money for the food bank through a series of events at the store, including a barbecue and an afternoon of local dignitaries bagging groceries for customers in exchange for donations.
Waters, a nine-year ShopRite employee, said knowing the money will help local residents is the real payoff.
"You like to see the efforts of all your hard work," she said.
And she and Wilson won't have to look far to remember it.
In addition to their faces on 125,000 cereal boxes, Waters and Wilson received copies of the cereal boxes encased in plexiglass, engraved with their names.