Grace College in Winona Lake, Ind., and Mission Point Community Church facilitated the eleventh annual Supermarket Sweep on Wednesday, November 3, at Kroger in Warsaw, Ind. The community was invited to participate by shopping for items. Grace College volunteers provided grocery lists that were created by local food banks and collected the items once purchased.
Supermarket Sweep is a fun and easy way to help local families in a tangible way as the holiday season approaches. Participants shopped for non-perishable food items and baby products which were then donated to organizations that support community members in need. This year, donations will go to Combined Community Services, the Salvation Army, and Heartline Pregnancy Center.
Director of Student Involvement at Grace Kearstin Criswell, who conceptualized the event 11 years ago, encouraged community members of all ages to be involved. “Supermarket Sweep is a gift to the community from the community.”
The day of shopping culminated with a game-show-inspired competition among teams of Grace College students, faculty, and staff. Groups “swept” the store, shopping for items on their list and competing to earn additional gift cards to spend. At the end of the night, teams were awarded prizes for winning certain categories such as the most money spent, the most money saved, and the most community or staff members present.
After the items are purchased, volunteers from Mission Point Community Church sort, pack, and deliver the donations to the local food banks.
“The thought of putting food in the fridges, on the tables or in the pantries of people who may potentially be going to bed hungry is a really simple, really practical way to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” said Kondo Simfukwe, lead pastor at Mission Point Community Church. “No matter who you are, you can do something small or something big, but we know at the end of the day, it’s going to make a great difference.”
Criswell anticipated another year of community impact.
“The past several years we have collected over $20,000 of groceries in 13 hours,” said Criswell. “Oftentimes, when we deliver the food to the foodbanks, they tell us that their shelves were completely empty, but because of the Supermarket Sweep, they are no longer. It’s our goal to make the shelves fuller than ever this year.”
A version of this story originally appeared in a press release from Grace College.