Northeast Times

ShopRite's Cheerios heroes

Shop­Rite em­ploy­ees Ry­an McIl­henny and Court­ney Snyder are among the su­per­mar­ket chain’s work­ers whose pho­tos will ap­pear on the back of a spe­cial edi­tion of Cheeri­os boxes to hon­or their ef­fors to raise one mil­lion dol­lars for Na­tion­al Hun­ger Aware­ness month in Septem­ber.

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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.”

ldquo;I tried to do the same thing at the car wash,” McIl­henny said. ••

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You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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