Earlier this year, Sandra Jusino and her daughter and fellow ShopRite employee Brittney Melanson appeared on a Cheerios box as a result of their efforts in last year’s National Hunger Awareness Month.
It’s September again, meaning it’s once again National Hunger Awareness Month, and this time, Jusino got her husband, Jose, involved.
Sgt. Jose Jusino, of the Atlantic County Sheriff’s Office, joined four other government representatives at the Galloway ShopRite at 401 South Pitney Road for the “Bagging for Hunger” event.
Jusino joined Atlantic County Sheriff Frank X. Balles, Galloway Township Mayor Don Purdy, Atlantic County Freeholder James Bertino and Robert Geist, a field representative for Congressman Frank LoBiondo to bag groceries for customers on Wednesday morning, Sept. 19.
“It’s a great event,” Jose Jusino said. “It’s good to get out and help the community, and help the less fortunate. They did very well last year. They were 30th of all the ShopRites.”
Last year, the goal for every ShopRite was to raise $10,000 for a total of $1 million during National Hunger Awareness Month. The Galloway ShopRite was one of 45 ShopRites to reach the $10,000 goal, which helped Jusino and Melanson end up on the Cheerios box.
It was the first time the Galloway ShopRite reached its goal since the program started in 1999.
This year’s goal is $1,500,000.
“I’m happy to be giving back to the community,” Sandra Jusino said. “They asked me to do it last year, and I conquered it. So they asked me to do it again this year.”
Purdy, Balles and Geist were all part of the event last year, as well.
“I did it last year, and when I came in here, it was overwhelming,” Purdy said. “I never bagged a day in my life. It’s a good experience. I think everyone should give back to the community.”
“It’s a great fundraiser,” said Balles, who worked as a bagger at Pathmark in Egg Harbor Township after he graduated from high school. “I want to do anything I can do to help out.”
Bagging for Hunger is part of ShopRite Partners in Caring and General Mills' efforts during National Hunger Awareness Month. A percentage of the sales on General Mills products is donated to area Food Banks. Employees also sell tickets for donations to customers. Cashier Melanie Brill, of Absecon, leads all employees in number of tickets sold through the first two weeks, with 121 the first week and 164 the second. She began working at the store three weeks ago.
“She has asked every single person who’s come through her line,” Assistant Manager Connie Van Seeters said. “She’s doing a great job.”
In addition to Bagging for Hunger, ShopRite’s sold hot dogs every weekend, held car washes and hosted an Employees’ Night Out to raise money for the effort.
It’s next event will be Bowling to Strike Out Hunger, at the Strike Zone on Sept. 26, from 7-9 p.m. Admission is open to the public, and tickets are $15. According to Sandra Jusino, the event will feature a Chinese Auction.