ROXBURY, NJ – When it comes to bagging groceries at ShopRite, today wasn’t Roxbury Councilman Dan Kline’s first rodeo, as they say.

Kline worked as a Succasunna ShopRite bagger while in high school. So his efforts doing so alongside Roxbury Mayor Mark Crowley and state Assemblyman Anthony Bucco - for the annual ShopRite Partners in Caring Help Bag Hunger Day – came naturally.

“It’s really wonderful that ShopRite and Partners in Caring give back so much to our community and communities all around New Jersey,” said Kline, barely missing a beat as he stuffed items into a yellow plastic ShopRite bag. “I’m really grateful the mayor and our assemblyman can be here to give back to our community as well. It’s always important to support the Roxbury Food Pantry.”

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Since it began in 1999, ShopRite Partners in Caring has donated nearly $44 million to more than 2,000 charities, including local food banks, according to RoNetco. During Bag Hunger, and other events in September, cashiers are accepting donations and asking customers to “round up for change” to help the pantries.

An Annual Event

Help Bag Hunger Day takes place every year on the third Wednesday of September. Local officials are invited to join ShopRite employees at the register.

"The welcomed guests don aprons and bag groceries to bring awareness to the issue of hunger in our communities," says ShopRite, noting the day is recognized by state legislatures and governors in the six states the chain services.

“It only takes one team, one purpose and one passion to make a difference for those in need in our communities,” said RoNetco in a statement. “This program aligns perfectly with ShopRite’s Purpose Statement of caring deeply about people, helping them to eat well and be happy.”

In between chatting with his Roxbury constituents and bagging their items, Crowley said he enjoyed the event. “This is fantastic,” he said. “The community all comes together. Even store owners come together to help in caring for everybody in the community. What else can you ask for?”

He pointed out that the Succasunna ShopRite draws people from nearby towns who – during Help Bag Hunger Day – “get to see what a great town Roxbury is.”

Bucco, who also serves as Roxbury’s municipal counsel, wore a blue apron and a big smile as he tried to keep up with the fast scanning of ShopRite employee Dana Colucci, daughter of Roxbury School Board Member Anne Colucci.

“This is my third or fourth year doing this,” he said. “I want to thank ShopRite for their initiative to put this together. The ShopRite family has always done a great job fighting hunger and I’m happy to be here to day to lend a hand to help feed people in Morris County and especially in Roxbury.”