Three minute run through Ric’s Food Center nets winner groceries

Rowan Cunningham hurried after his father as they grabbed groceries during a three- minute shopping spree. Photo by Cindy M Cranmer

Ticket raffle raises funds for Interact group service project

By Cindy M. Cranmer

It was a “clean sweep” for the Cunningham family as they took home more than $400 in free groceries as part of a raffle to benefit a Rockford High School service group.

Devon Cunningham described the three-minute run through Ric’s Food Center as “a clean sweep” while holding up the broom the family needed in victory. Devon Cunningham stated they broke their broom earlier in the week so that was definitely on their list.

Devon Cunningham grabs items and throws them in his cart during the grocery raffle shopping spree. Photo by Cindy M Cranmer

Devon and his five-year-old son, Rowan, raced in their costumes through the store getting groceries in the timed event. The Cunninghams had three minutes to get up to $500 worth of groceries and their total came in at about $420.

While many would head straight to the meat aisle quickly loading up on products there and hitting the $500 total, one thing that was unique was that the Cunninghams are vegetarians.

“I would have just assumed whomever won would head right to the meats,” said Kelly Gardner, who advises Rockford Interact.

Rowan Cunningham, 5, laughs as he helps his father, Devon Cunningham, grab groceries. Photos by Cindy M Cranmer

Devon Cunningham did grab some steaks, a package of T-bones and some porterhouse steaks, as a gift for Jerry Coon. Coon is his father-in-law and technically the winner of the raffle. Coon, former Rockford mayor, was going to be out of town with his wife, Deb, so they gave the gift to their daughter, Stephanie and her family.

Stephanie and two-year-old Archer were busy rooting Devon and Rowan on during the event. The steaks were a thank you to the Coons. Although Devon said he was not sure whether those were good steaks, he was reassured by those who eat meat that they were.

“We came in on Tuesday and planned out our strategy,” Devon said. “We cemented that strategy before this began today.”

They wanted to do something fun with it so Devon wore a shark costume while Rowan was dressed in a bear costume as they dashed through the store grabbing items and trying to beat the timer.

Devon Cunningham and Rowan Cunningham celebrate after their three- minute Friday shopping spree. Photo by Cindy M Cranmer

Devon was pleased with his grocery grabs, which included laundry detergent, Morningstar products, fresh produce, lots of snack foods, and more. He said he missed the licorice he planned to grab and had thought about grabbing a sled but did not want to lose his rhythm.

Rockford Interact, which is a service organization, is working to raise $60,000 to help a village in the Dominican Republic build a school for students. Each year, the organization has helped the village improve life in some way and the past two years have been about raising funds to continue funding construction of the school.

Gardner said the school is on an island so it is not cheap to build the school and Rockford Interact has already raised about $30,000.

Rockford Interact students Sam and Holly Danner, their counselor Kelly Gardener, and Store Manager Dave Brickner pose with the Cunningham family after the three minute shopping spree. Photo by Cindy M. Cranmer

“It was fun and it was really nice of Ric’s to work with us as well as they did,” she said.  She stated that Dave Brickner, store manager of Ric’s, “was really on board with this.”

Rockford Interact has about 60 students in the service club. The Rockford Renaissance Club at the school got involved and donated the $500 to pay for the shopping spree while Ric’s Food Center donated gift certificates for second and third.

Jewel Monroe, cashier, and Dawn Nicklau, assistant customer service manager, rang up the purchase while everyone waited for the total. Both thought it was fun to be part of the event that gave the Cunninghams $419.59 worth of groceries and Rockford Interact almost $1,300 from raffle sales.

Devon Cunningham loads his winning items on the conveyer belt at Ric’s. Photo by Cindy M Cranmer

“It’s incredible,” Devon said of winning the prize.

Rockford Rotary, Genesis Salon and Day Spa, The Rockford Squire, and Ric’s Food Center all sold the raffle tickets, which sold for $10 each, as the students could not sell the tickets. Ric’s donated a $50 gift certificate for third and a $100 gift certificate for second.

Brickner said it was fun to be part of the event. “It looked like it would be something fun to be involved with and was for a good cause,” he said.

“It went very, very nice. Devon had lots of energy,” Brickner said. “We enjoyed it. We try to be involved in as many things as we can in the community.”

Winners of the grocery spree, the Cunningham family, pose Saturday before the event. Archer, 2; Stephanie; Devon; and Rowan, 5, were excited about their prize. Photo by Cindy M Cranmer