The Oak Lawn fire and police departments are usually fighting fires and enforcing the law, respectively. However, the first responders recently competed against each other in a friendly rivalry at an unexpected location – a supermarket.
This year marked the 16th Annual Food Checkout Day sponsored by the Cook County Farm Bureau, Country Financial and Jewel-Osco. To honor the day, the friendly Supermarket Sweep style competition took place at Jewel-Osco, 9424 S. Pulaski Road, Oak Lawn. The firefighter and police teams collected packaged goods and kitchen products for families at all five Ronald McDonald Houses located in the Chicago area on Feb. 9.
“Jewel-Osco is a wonderful host and the scavenger hunt is such a fun addition to the day thanks to the Oak Lawn Fire and Police departments for participating in the friendly competition,” publicist Megan Reidy said.
Broken into two teams, the fire department was led by Chris Ward and the police department was led by Sgt. Jim Pacetti.
Each team received a list of clues for the scavenger hunt, which hinted toward items the Ronald McDonald House really needs. The teams then raced through the store gathering the needed items as fast as they can. The more correct items collected, the more points the team received.
Both teams were assisted by members of Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences in Chicago’s Mount Greenwood neighborhood, who aided in the pushing of the shopping carts through the hectic aisles.
State Sen. Bill Cunningham (D-18th) also made an appearance to cheer on the departments.
The Oak Lawn Fire Department has won the supermarket sweep the past three years. The fire department took home a fourth title, defeating the Oak Lawn Police Department in the six-minute race for food items throughout the grocery store.
Jewel-Osco hosted the fun and fierce competition to benefit families at the Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Children’s Hospital. Food Checkout Day highlights the safe and nutritious food grown by local farmers while also drawing attention to those families who struggle to find solutions to feeding their families healthy food on a tight budget.
Through Farm Bureau’s partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana (RMHC-CNI), Cook County Farm Bureau members are able to assist families during the most difficult time of their lives, when their child is ill, by holding a huge food drive to support all five Ronald McDonald Houses located in the Chicago area.
“Food Checkout Day, led by the Cook County Farm Bureau, brings the community together in support of families at RMHC-CNI,” Reidy said.
The scavenger hunt was inspired to have quick and healthy food available for families in need and home cooked meals are provided by volunteer groups at each of the five Chicago area Ronald McDonald Houses, according to Reidy.
Prior to the event, the local community collected many everyday items, including bottled water, coffee, creamer, cereal, individually wrapped cookies and snack and quick meals, mac and cheese, canned soups, granola bars, and peanut butter and jelly. This allows families the flexibility to grab and go with food items, so they have the energy and strength they need to be their best for their children at the hospital.
A post-event dinner was held at the Ronald McDonald House near Advocate Children’s Hospital located at 4410 W. 93rd St., Oak Lawn, where 16 families currently staying at the house enjoyed a delicious dinner.
All food collected during the event went directly to the Ronald McDonald House.