Laurel Hill ShopRite customers who hit the checkout lines between noon and 1 p.m. Wednesday didn't have to bag their own groceries.
No, ShopRite didn't go back to the old days, when a bagger was available at the end of each checkout aisle.
Mayor David Mayer, Councilwoman Michelle Gentek, and members of the Gloucester Township Police Department and Blackwood Fire Co. pitched in to support ShopRite's Partners in Caring initiative to fight hunger, serving as special baggers for about an hour.
"It's such a great cause, to fight hunger. We appreciate (the help)," Laurel Hill ShopRite store director Ron Walker said. "It's a total team effort."
ShopRite has been asking customers to make donations to support local food banks since Aug. 26. There is a wall full of donation tags signed by donors at the end of the Laurel Hill store's checkout lines, as well as a handful on the store's bulletin board that spell "Fight Hunger."
Since it started its Partners in Caring initiative in 1999, the supermarket chain has raised $29 million to fight hunger.
Wednesday was Partners in Caring Day in the six states in which ShopRite does business, including New Jersey.
"Look, it's a difficult time in people's lives," Mayor David Mayer said, before taking a long pause to talk to a constituent and finish bagging up an order, "and certainly to help combat hunger is a very, very important objective. I think it's also important that we raise awareness."
Mayer noted the support needed by Gloucester Township's food banks, specifically naming those at Our Lady of Hope Parish and Living Word Bible Fellowship, during these difficult economic times.
In addition to the "Bag Hunger" event held Wednesday and the donation tags cashiers are selling, Laurel Hill ShopRite is selling raffle tickets for gift baskets in support of its Partners in Caring efforts. The raffle drawing is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29.