\WINONA LAKE — Grace College and Mission Point Community Church are inviting the public to participate in the annual Supermarket Sweep on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at the Kroger store at 2211 E. Center St., Warsaw.
From 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., on Wednesday, Mission Point volunteers will provide grocery lists of non-perishable food items and baby products to Kroger shoppers. Once purchased, these items will then be collected and donated to Combined Community Services, Salvation Army and Heartline Pregnancy Center.
Although the event has taken place in November for the past 11 years, Kearstin Criswell, the director of student involvement at Grace who conceptualized the event, saw a need to move Supermarket Sweep after the holiday season.
“Food banks are often the most full during the holiday seasons because many families, organizations and efforts focus on filling those shelves during that time,” said Criswell. “This was true last year when we went to deliver $26,000 of food, and some of the spaces were already full. We wanted to pivot in order to truly meet the need!”
Tim Frame, director of emergency assistance for Combined Community Services, appreciates the shift in dates.
“Having Supermarket Sweep after the holidays is very beneficial for us at CCS since donations are usually down and we have a high number of individuals needing assistance,” said Frame. “Thanks to the support of Supermarket Sweep, this year, our food pantry will be full during this time.”
The day of shopping culminates with a game-show-inspired competition among teams of Grace College students, faculty and staff. Beginning at 9:30 p.m., groups “sweep” the store, shopping for items on their list and competing to earn additional gift cards to spend. At the end of the night, teams are 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.
“Mission Point Community Church is honored to, once again, partner with Grace College for Supermarket Sweep,” said Michael Poorman, executive pastor at Mission Point Community Church. “Our 12-year partnership for this event has been a highlight each year as it has such an impact on our community. We are a church on a mission, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to our community. Together, we are living out words of Jesus in Matthew 25.”
If families and individuals are unable to participate in the event on Wednesday, Criswell reminds people that they can purchase canned goods and donate them at any time.
“I would love to see other churches and organizations in the community sponsor additional ‘Supermarket Sweeps’ during other months of the year so that together, we can strive to keep our food banks full year-round,” said Criswell.
To get more information about Mission Point Community Church, go to missionpoint.net/, and to learn more about Grace College, visit www.grace.edu.