Michael Haliford throws meat into his cart Monday during a two-minute shopping spree at Fred Meyer in Soldotna. Hallford and his family won the spree with a $325 bid and left he store with more than $1,400 in food.
Photo by Sarh J. Hardan-Smith
Many Fred Meyer shoppers stood still in surprise as Michael Hallford ran through the store grabbing anything that caught his eye Monday afternoon. That included nuts, meat and chocolate.
“It was a blast,” he said, breathless from two minutes of hurling items into the cart.
He participated in a shopping spree his family won with a bid during the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank’s annual Soup Supper and Auction held Aug. 26.
The Kasilof resident had two minutes to grab anything he pleased, with family and friends cheering him on with every toss.
After the spree, Hallford told onlookers he was going to have a big barbecue.
“It was worth it for the fun,” he said.
Hallford and his sister, Jennifer Beckmann, executive director of CARTS (Central Area Rural Transit System), attended the dinner with their family and won the spree with a bid of $325.
“Hey, we were just looking for a good time,” Beckmann said. “We are very excited.”
While Hallford estimated his loaded cart at $750 before checkout, the actual total of the goods was $1,465.
After the checkout was complete, the family gave four large turkeys to Linda Swarner, executive director of the food bank.
“Whatever we get is a bonus,” Beckmann said, adding she believes the family already has won by contributing to the food bank.
Beckmann said the family took time a few days prior to look at their options.
“We are hoping for meat,” she said in an interview before the spree.
Ronald Delaney, Fred Meyer store director, said the total was unexpected.
“It is much bigger than I anticipated,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll be invited to the barbecue.”
Delaney said the spree went very fast.
“He seemed pretty focused,” Delaney said.
The family also won the bids for tickets to the Alaska SeaLife Center and a one-night stay at the Van Gilder Hotel, both in Seward.
Beckmann said there are a lot of worthy nonprofit organizations on the Kenai Peninsula to choose from. As the head of CARTS, she said she knows how community support is vital.
“I just think supporting the food bank is very important,” she said.
Swarner said the shopping spree was one of many items auctioned off during the soup supper, which raised $45,000.
The money goes to help fund the emergency food program, the emergency food commodities and the soup kitchen programs.
Swarner said the emergency food program helps families by providing with perishable items such as bread, milk, eggs, fruits and vegetables monthly. Soup kitchen serves lunch five days a week, and the emergency food commodities program is income related.
Beckmann said the shopping event is so important, she is pulled her 10-year-old daughter, Rachel, from school to experience it.
“It is a learning experience. It is for a good cause,” Beckmann said.
After the groceries were packed up and the group headed out the door, Hallford said the amount of food will go to benefit more than just his family.
“It just means I have more to donate to the food bank,” he said.
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