HILLSBOROUGH: ShopRite employees get photo on box of cereal box

Lynette Byrne of Manville captained team effort

By Gene Robbins, Managing Editor
   Look closely the back of the cereal box at your breakfast table. You may see some familiar faces.
   Two ShopRite of Hillsborough employees — Lynette Byrne of Manville and Scott Holds of Newton — are among 81 people chosen to pose for a photo that graces the back of 125,000 special edition Cheerios boxes now on sale and display at ShopRite stores in New Jersey and the region.
   ShopRite supermarket employees across six states banded together last September in a friendly competition sponsored by ShopRite and General Mills. The “Partners In Caring” annual Cheerios contest challenged employees to raise money creatively to help the hungry in local communities.
   Being chosen for the photo was part of the prize for two employees in each of the 40 stores that raised the most money. The 81 employees (the top store got three in the photo) stand in the shape of a heart under a banner, “Fighting Hunger. . . from the heart.”
   Ms. Byrne, manager of the checkout area, was the team captain at the Hillsborough store. She organized more than a dozen fellow employees in selling hot dogs, baked goods and kids’ arts and crafts near the store’s entrance, and lining the window shelves with used books for people to browse and buy. The team raised just more than $15,000 in five weeks, she said.
   ”I was thrilled,” she said. “I had a great group of cashiers helping. It was a big team effort.”
   Mr. Holds was one of the store’s assistant managers who was instrumental on the team. He has since moved to a new store in the Morristown area.
   The total effort by ShopRite associates raised $1.24 million to support regional food banks in communities served by ShopRite stores.
   Each winning store was awarded money ($3,000 for the top 5 stores, and $500 for the others) to be given to local food pantries chosen by their store team. The Hillsborough store gave its $500 to Dorothy and Brant Stearns, the Montgomery husband-and-wife team that runs the seven-month-old Bentley Community Services non-profit. Their effort concentrates on helping working families who may be still be struggling as a result of layoffs, underemployment or a variety of reasons.
   ”We’re grateful to our ShopRite associates, who care so deeply about the plight of the hungry.” said Christine Magyarits, spokesperson for ShopRite Partners In Caring. “Their dedication to the cause is heartwarming. We are equally grateful to our generous customers, who are so supportive of our efforts to alleviate hunger in local communities served by ShopRite stores.”