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updated: 2/17/2014 5:53 PM

Batavia mayor, state rep wage battle for groceries -- and charity

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  • State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, left, congratulates her shopping assistant, Bonnie Wegman of the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, after Kifowit's shopping spree time expired Monday at the Jewel-Osco in Batavia.

       State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, left, congratulates her shopping assistant, Bonnie Wegman of the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, after Kifowit's shopping spree time expired Monday at the Jewel-Osco in Batavia.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

  • Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke works quickly to grab as many nonperishable food items as he can Monday at the Jewel-Osco store in Batavia.

       Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke works quickly to grab as many nonperishable food items as he can Monday at the Jewel-Osco store in Batavia.
    Christopher Hankins | Staff Photographer

 
By Christopher Hankins
chankins@dailyherald.com

Perhaps the tennis shoes made the difference.

Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke and state Rep. Stephanie Kifowit raced each other to fill shopping cart after shopping cart full of nonperishable food items for charity as part of the 13th annual Farm Bureau Food Check-Out Challenge.

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In the final tally, Kifowit edged the mayor with $1,273.87 worth of groceries, less than $50 more than Schielke.

Although it was her first time participating in the event, Kifowit said it helped to strategize.

"Tennis shoes does give you an advantage," she said. "My other ones were too dressy."

Schielke chose the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry to be the recipients of his handiwork. Kifowit's efforts benefited the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry.

Each contestant was accompanied by a representative from the food pantry they were shopping for, which helped them prioritize which items would benefit the pantry most.

"It was very rewarding to hear what the food pantry actually needs," Kifowit said.

Schielke said he liked his advantage of knowing the store layout before racing down the aisles.

"I know the store because I was here for the discussions of whether or not we were going to build it," Schielke said, "I was here for the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting, and the re-ribbon cutting. They've remodeled the store several times over the years."

The Kane County Farm Bureau eventually picks up the tab for all of the groceries and donates them to the contestant's food pantry of choice. The shopping spree complements the organization's Harvest for ALL program, where farmers and non-farmers contribute crop proceeds, cash and in-kind donations to food pantries of their choice.

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