EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Thousands of ShopRite associates across six states banded together last September in a friendly competition sponsored by ShopRite and General Mills, the annual ShopRite Partners In Caring Cheerios Contest.  This year, the contest raised $1.5 million to fight hunger.  Local winners were Dietician Maryrose Agel of Milltown and cashier Thomas Guarisco of East Brunswick  who are featured on a limited-edition Cheerios box.

Spotswood Mayor Ed Seely praised the local market for "raising $11,440 during a five-week period."  Seely said that he was "proud to embrace the mission of ShopRite Partners in Caring." Seely, who was joined by Councilman John Melillo at the unveiling of the "Power of One" box, said, "I am proud of the ShopRite in our town. Most people say, 'Put your money where your mouth is.' The Spotswood ShopRite puts their money where other people's mouths are."

With this year’s contest theme, “The Power of One,” serving as backdrop, ShopRite associates collected donations at check-out and held events in stores to raise awareness and funds to fight hunger. 

Sign Up for E-News

"Sometimes it was just a matter of asking people to 'round up' their change to make a donation.  Sometimes people were just great and handed me a five or ten-dollar donation," said Thomas Guarisco, who has lived in East Brunswick for the past eight years and works as a cashier in the store.  "People were happy to give,"  he said.

Together, ShopRite associates helped raise $1.5 million during the Cheerios contest to help feed the hungry. ShopRite and General Mills will recognized associates with a prized spot on a special-edition Cheerios box, and each of the 40 top winning stores chose two ShopRite associates to be featured on the iconic cereal box.

The customized cereal boxes, sold exclusively at ShopRite, were unveiled on Tuesday at an in-store celebration at the Spotswood Shop-Rite.

Each winning store received prize money ($3,000 for the top five stores, and $500 for the remaining winning stores) that will be donated to local food pantries chosen by the respective store teams.

Spotswood's donation went to Broken Loaves, a food bank operating out of the Calvary Chapel in Old Bridge.  Jim and Jeanehe Shevchenko represented the charity and accepted the $500 donation. Jim Shevchenko led the group in a prayer of gratitude for the donation and hope for the end of hunger, pain, and sickness.

His thoughts were echoed by Tom Vogel of the Community Food Bank in HIllside, which provides food to the needy in 18 counties of New Jersey.  Vogel asserted that "Hunger is pervasive in all of our communities.  People go to bed hungry every day.  The demand for food continues to rise."