COAL CITY — As a part of National Food Check-Out Week, members of the Grundy County Farm Bureau visited the Berkot’s Super Foods of Coal City to show that, even on a stretched budget, Americans can eat healthy.
Food Check-Out Week is celebrated annually in the third week of February as a bridge to National Nutrition Month in March, according to the American Farm Bureau at www.fb.org. It marks the point in the year when it is calculated the average American consumer has earned enough disposable income to purchase their groceries for the entire year.
To prove the point about shopping on a stretched budget, a “Shopping Cart Challenge” was arranged at the Coal City Berkot’s on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Two teams — one representing the Coal City Intermediate School and the other from the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers program — raced through the Berkot’s aisles to grab as much product from the shelves as they could at the lowest cost per item.
They had two minutes to complete their shopping.
Farm Bureau Manager Tasha Bunting said all of the items chosen needed to be non-perishable and the participants could grab a maximum of eight of any single item.
Just before the race began, Bunting added the Farm Bureau’s team had never won this challenge in the three previous years this event was held.
CCIS Principal Tracy Carlson and teammate Carol Talty, also from CCIS, filled their shopping cart with items like baby food, canned vegetables, paper products such as tissues, dry pasta mixes, and more.
Young Farmers Brad Yusko and Kaitlyn Harlow also grabbed canned vegetables, along with spices and gelatin.
The CCIS team ended up with 262 items in their cart, compared to the Young Farmers’ 177. After the calculations were done, the Young Farmers came out on top with 70 cents per item, while the CCIS team shopped at 94 cents per item.
Bunting said the Young Farmers won “bragging rights” until next year.
“It was amazing,” Carlson said about her experience in the Challenge. “It was so much fun and it is for a great cause.”
She is ready for a rematch next year, however.
All of the products the teams chose during their challenge were purchased by the Grundy County Farm Bureau and then donated to the Coal City Food Pantry.