Story by Sara Paul
Kayla Frisenda and Linda Glasspool have always had competitive spirits, and this year’s efforts in the “ShopRite Partners in Caring Cheerios Contest” proved them to be among the most competitive of them all. With this year’s contest theme, “The Power of One,” Frisenda and Glasspool were two of the only 82 ShopRite associates from 40 stores who will appear on the back of the limited-edition Cheerios boxes for their part in helping to raise $1.5 million to fight hunger.
The hard-working ladies were honored, along with Store Director Charlie Sladek, at a ceremony on Wed., Apr. 4 at the ShopRite in Warwick. A large crowd of employees, community leaders and shoppers gathered as a blown up photo of the box was unveiled.
The winning associates pointed out their location in the photo montage. They were also presented with empty Cheerios box keepsakes in plastic cases at the event, which was emceed by Steve Hildner, Community Relations Representative from ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc.
“It’s fun to compete, and its fun to be recognized,” said Frisenda, a Westbrookville, NY resident and a second consecutive year contest winner.
“It’s a really good cause, its competitive and its fun,” said Glasspool, a Highland Lakes, NJ resident.
Sponsored by ShopRite and General Mills, the challenge involved collecting donations at check-out and holding events to raise awareness and funds.
Glenn P. Dickes, Director of the Warwick Ecumenical Food Pantry, was also on hand to accept a check for $500.
The Director of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, Paul A. Stermer, noted that the food pantry serves 100,000 people a year and last year distributed 16 million pounds of food.
“The need is great, and the response is always equally great,” Stermer said.
ShopRite Supermarkets, Inc. President and CEO Brett Wing thanked associates for getting behind the initiative, and particularly praised “top rate” Store Director Charlie Sladek.
“This store really shines,” Wing commented.
Impressed by the extra efforts of the employees, Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Johndrow commented, “This is really a big deal for these two ladies who did what they did and now have their face on a Cheerios box.”
Warwick Councilman Floyd DeAngelo and Chamber of Commerce Board President John Redman were also in the audience.
“Here at ShopRite, we are passionate about food and passionate about people,” commented Sladek, who thanked all in attendance, particularly, “our customers, who don’t only open up their wallets; they open up their hearts.”
Sladek pointed out that ShopRite promotes a “culture of giving back that is just contagious and really spreads. We are always trying to see what we can do next. It just makes sense to take care of people and take care of the community. In return, they take care of you.”