From the Kane County Chronicle:
Shopping spree: Waubonsee president, state senator participate in annual event
Waubonsee president participates in annual event
By CHRIS WALKER – email@example.com
Sobek competed in a five-minute, nonperishable grocery shopping spree at the Batavia Jewel-Osco to benefit the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry in Aurora. Elgin Sen. Cristina Castro competed alongside her for the F.I.S.H Food Pantry in Carpentersville. Actually, they did it for seven minutes, as the participants were awarded two bonus minutes.
“It was actually a little more difficult than you think because the time went by so quickly,” Sobek said. “It was a lot of fun though. I was fortunate to have a great partner in Diane Renner from the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry to give me specific directions. We were looking to fill with items that they needed, like bottled juices, peanut butter and jelly.”
Sobek was more than happy to participate.
“Some of my colleagues had done it, so it was an honor to be asked to be here,” she said. “It’s such a great cause, and I had a lot of fun with the senator.”
“We know there is an area of need there in Aurora,” she said. “We wanted to make sure we were supporting one of the [pantries] in the area.”
Everyone proved to be a winner. Castro collected $1,024.37 in food items, while Sobek filled multiple carts for a total of $945.12.
The shopping spree was sponsored by the Kane County Farm Bureau, which has donated tens of thousands of dollars in groceries to local pantries. It complements its Harvest For All program, where farmers and non-farmers contribute crop proceeds, cash and in-kind donations to food pantries.
“We’re glad to do it,” Kane County Farm Bureau President Joe White said. “They’re able to have some fun while replenishing some of their supplies.”
Mary Graziano, president of the F.I.S.H Food Pantry, accompanied Castro, whizzing up and down the aisles.
“This was the first time I’ve done one of these, and it was a lot of fun. It was wonderful,” she said. “It’s also nice to have the notoriety, so people realize that there are food pantries in need out there.”
Graziano said that F.I.S.H. feeds more than 30,000 people a year and that the pantry is constantly replenishing its inventory.
“After the holidays is always tough, and so is the summer,” she said. “We can get through the holidays, but then we get to summer and so many kids need breakfast and lunch because they’re no longer getting that in the schools. Everything we get helps.”
Renner said that her pantry is more in need now than ever before since they opened a second pantry on the eastside of Aurora.
“Our food inventory depletes a lot faster than it used to,” she said. “We want to make sure we have enough for all the families in need, and we’re seeing more and more, especially the elderly.”
Jewel-Osco Director Gus Eliopoulos said his store was happy to host the event once again.
“It’s great fun for a great cause, and we always prepare for it and have everybody get involved and make sure everyone is having fun,” he said. “I’d like to thank the community and all that were involved. It’s always a win-win. It impacts a lot of people. We donate food four days a week, so we are able to help a lot of families in need. We’re happy to do it.”