ShopRite's Cheerios heroes
If you buy your Cheerios this month at the ShopRite in Morrell Plaza, you’ll be able to spot two of the market’s employees pictured on the back of the cereal box.
Ryan McIlhenny and Courtney Snyder are among a crowd of ShopRite workers from six states who helped raise $1million in September for hunger-relief programs. The employees are posing around a very large representation of that dollar amount. Snyder is right above the first zero, and McIlhenny is the big guy smiling from the top center of the photo.
Snyder and McIlhenny and all the other workers at the Morrell Plaza market raised almost $11,000 by asking customers for donations in checkout lines or organizing car washes and other fund-raising events at the store.
The money goes to Philabundance, the non-profit that provides food to local charity pantries that help needy residents, ShopRite spokeswoman Orien Reid said during a celebration at the store on March 13.
There’s a big need for that money, Reid said.
“Thirty-seven million people don’t have enough to eat,” she said of national figures. Of those, she added, 14 million are children and 3 million are senior citizens.
Many people get help from food pantries run by charitable organizations. One from the Northeast, Holy Redeemer’s Food Cupboard, received a check for $500 during last week’s celebration.
The money ShopRite contributes “really means so much to the pantries,” said Colleen Watts, Philabundance agency network manager, explaining that the organization can stretch the money, providing two meals for every dollar.
Since 1999, ShopRite’s Partners in Caring program has raised more than $20 million. Each store selects organizations to benefit from the program, and each year, ShopRite employees from 230 stores compete in a fund-raising contest. The 45 stores that bring in the most cash each select two workers to appear on the Cheerios box.
The McMenamin Family ShopRite at 9910 Frankford Ave. was one of those winners, and McIlhenny, who works at the market’s courtesy desk, and Snyder, a cashier, were picked to represent their store.
On March 13, the two new celebrities were presented with large, plastic encased, special-edition Cheerios boxes.
To raise funds, McIlhenny worked the store-sponsored car washes every Sunday last September; Snyder asked customers for donations on the checkout line.
What were their fund-raising techniques?
McIlhenny said he made sure customers knew there were car washes raising money for charity outside the store. Inside the store, Snyder said, when she asked customers for donations, “I gave them a cute smile.”
“I tried to do the same thing at the car wash,” McIlhenny said. ••