BYRAM TOWNSHIP, NJ - Corporate ShopRite Employees, and local ShopRite Associates, gathered to celebrate ShopRite of Byram's contribution to this year's ShopRite Partners In Caring contest this past week.
As a whole, ShopRite Associates raised $1.25 million with the contest, for regional food banks in the respective store areas.
This year, two ShopRite Associates in Byram, Denise Lewis of Netcong, N.J., and Jennifer Wilson of Flanders, N.J., were two of the local honorees. Lewis and Wilson are both pictured on a special edition Cheerios box, which was unveiled at the ceremony. Two associates each from 40 of the stores were featured on the box.
"We're here to honor the local ShopRite Associates in your store who worked tirelessly to fight hunger," said Christine Magyarits, a spokesperson for the ShopRite Partners In Caring Program.
Magyarits said this is the 12th annual contest, and through the program over the last 12 years, ShopRite has been able to donate $30 million to food banks in the trading area.
ShopRite as a whole, has 250 stores in several states, including New Jersey. The stores are owned by 49 families. The Byram store is owned by the Romano Family, as part of RoNetco Supermarkets, Inc., as well as stores in Franklin, Newton, Flanders, Netcong, Succasunna, and Hackettstown/Mansfield.
"Today, you really can't tell who may be hungry," said Magyarits. "One in six Americans are food insecure. That is really dramatic."
General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, Magyarits said, is one of the largest vendors to help with the program.
Several representatives from local organizations, which help to feed the hungry, were at the event.
Shannon Williams of Norwescap, said, "We couldn't do it without the Partners In Caring."
Alice Kidd, who oversees the First Baptist Church Food Pantry, said, "We've seen a great increase of those that are hungry, especially children, and seniors."
Michelle Pontus, who works with Sussex County Division of Social Services, was also in attendance, agreed, "We do see a change with the people coming in."
Pontus said there is a pantry at Social Services, and, when new people ask for food from the pantry, employees will help assess what other programs they may be eligible for.
Hank Ramberger, general manager, said to the associates, associates in the front end, and Byram Store Manager, John DeCarlo, "I'd like to thank you for all you do out there."
Then, he expressed special gratitude to the customers, "I'd like to thank the customers for their support."
Following the ceremony, attendees enjoyed cake created by Jess Dackerman in the ShopRite of Byram bakery, which was accented with Cheerios.
"David Romano [CFO of RoNetco Supermarkets, Inc.] always says, 'We work here, we live here, we give here,'" Ramberger concluded.
Other winning stores in New Jersey included ShopRites of Berlin, Brookdale, Chews Landing, Clinton, English Creek in Egg Harbor Township, Fischer Bay in Toms River, Flemington, Garden State Pavilion in Cherry Hill, Greenwich, Hackensack, Hammonton, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mansfield, Marlton, Medford, Netcong, Newton, Passaic, Ramsey, Rio Grande, Somers Point, Stirling, Succasunna, Wayne, West Deptford, and Williamstown.
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