On Tuesday afternoon at their US 30 Valparaiso location, Strack and Van Til presented a check to the Pink Ribbon Society for their 3rd annual “Checkout Challenge,” the proceeds of which go directly to those who have been affected by breast cancer. Strack and Van Til raised an all-time high of $47,759.37.
Ashleigh Marlow, Strack and Van Til’s Public Relations Coordinator, said this year’s Checkout Challenge raised $2,000 more than last year.
“We ask customers, for just a few weeks in October, if they would like to round up to the nearest dollar to donate to the Pink Ribbon Society,” said Marlow. “We just want to support the families affected, and this is our third year doing so.”
Paulette Ozuna with Strack and Van Til said the Checkout Challenge is very personal to her.
“I had a few family members that had cancer. It can hit anybody, and I think this is a good challenge to win,” said Ozuna. “I had someone come up to me and donate 20 dollars alone. I believe it hits everybody, no matter what it is.”
Tina Quarles, another Strack and Van Til employee, is also very supportive of the cause and is proud to be a part of making a difference.
“Everybody knows somebody with breast cancer. If you don’t, you’re lucky,” said Quarles. ”It’s good to help so we know less and less people who have it. You just ask if they want to donate, and more people than not are all about helping others. I just want to say ‘thank you’ to those who donated.”
Mike Deboer, Frontend Manager at the Valparaiso Strack and Van Til, said customers are great at rounding up for the cause.
“We prepare our cashiers to ask every customer to round up and to pay attention to it. Cancer is a terrible thing we have in our world, and it’s definitely something that we need to work on. We just want to get the most we can out of the Checkout Challenge,” said Deboer.
Ann Peters, Founder and President of the Pink Ribbon Society, said events like these maintain and fund the programs they have.
“Sooner or later it touches someone. If it’s not breast cancer, it’s some kind of cancer,” said Peters. “Breast cancer unfortunately is on the rise in Lake County. We also have a larger mortality rate. We want the community to be aware that we are here to help.”
Maura Rowley, Secretary Treasurer of the Pink Ribbon Society, says the Checkout Challenge enables the community to help local people.
“People admire that all of the money raised is kept local. We service those in Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton Counties,” said Rowley. “We’re probably helping your neighbor or the person down the street or someone that you know right in your very area. We’re very glad to be able to do that.”
The Strack and Van Til team hope they can continue to top the previous year’s Checkout Challenge. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, both the Pink Ribbon Society and grocery chain want to continue to make a difference.
As Ann Peters states- “No one fights alone,” and the community coming together resonates that very statement.
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