With childrens' chants of “Mrs. Fisher” and “Holy Family School” echoing off the aisles of the Giant in Lower Nazareth Township, Colette Fisher, principal of the borough Catholic school, readied her shopping cart.
She already knew what items she wanted to grab -- cereal and peanut butter -- because those are the items the Nazareth Area Food Bank could use the most.
With food bank director Jim Byrnes at her side, the duo was able to throw $350.25 worth of cereal in waiting carts. With only 30 seconds to grab as much non-perishable food items as possible, they weren’t able to make it to the peanut butter -- but that cereal will go a long way.
“This was a win-win for everyone -- for Holy Family School, for Giant Food Stores and for the Nazareth Area Food Bank,” Fisher said after participating in Giant's "Principal Challenge" Friday afternoon.
Fisher was chosen to participate in the challenge after a proposal she submitted -- on how she could work with her local Giant to score A+ School Rewards for her students -- was picked to happen.
In all, only five "Principal Challenge" proposals were chosen. Governor Wolf Elementary School in Bethlehem was also one of the five.
After mulling over a few ideas, according to Fisher, she decided on a proposal: She would challenge the store’s manager to see who could fill a grocery cart with the most non-perishable food items (having the highest retail value) in 30 seconds.
As part of Holy Family's prize, Giant will double the school's A+ School Rewards during the month of March. The value of Holy Family's prize for the "Principal Challenge" will depend on all of the school's March purchases.
The food items collected during the challenge were then donated to the Nazareth Area Food Bank.
Team Giant consisted of Curtis Kirkpatrick, the assistant store manager, and Olivia Correll, Miss Southeastern Pennsylvania.
When asked what his strategy was, Kirkpatrick said, “Get the most food for the food bank as I possibly can.”
Kirkpatrick and Correll never made it down any aisles. Instead, they went for items stocked at the very end of each aisle.
In addition to some cereal and a variety of other items, their cart consisted of mostly canned vegetables -- very healthy.
Team Giant grabbed $179.02 in non-perishable food items. Fisher and Byrnes were the "winners" by a landslide.
“On behalf of the clients we serve, the Nazareth Area Food Bank is extremely grateful to Giant Food Stores, the managers and staff of the Nazareth store and the Holy Family Parish School community for the success of this wonderful event,” Byrnes said. “It shows once again how supportive the Nazareth community is and how folks can be inventive in coming up with ways to help those who struggle to feed their families.”
The "Principal Challenge" was a group effort long in the making. Holy Family School was able to submit a proposal because 804 families signed up their BONUSCARDS for A+ School Rewards.
Since the beginning of the 2011-2012 A+ School Awards Program -- Oct. 9, 2011 -- those families have raised $10,045.23 for the school.
A+ School Rewards, according to www.giantfoodstores.com, are points that accrue with each purchase using the BONUSCARD, kind of like gas points. At the end of each month, the A+ School Rewards are used in a calculation to determine your school's cash total, which then is automatically credited to your school's account.
Customers can support up to two schools.
The 2011-2012 program has raised about $3 million for local schools, according to Jerry Griffin, the director of marketing and communications for Giant. Griffin added that the schools could use the money for new computers, smart boards, textbooks, etc.
Fisher said the money accrued for Holy Family is used to lower the subsidy the parish pays to keep the school in good operation.
The program ends March 31, but will restart again next school year.
In addition to Holy Family, each school in the Nazareth Area School District participates in the A+ Rewards Program.
To register your BONUSCARD, visit www.giantfoodstores.com/aplus.