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Local Supermarket Sweep fundraiser for Kiwanis becomes big win for community

By PAULETTE LeBLANC - | Dec 2, 2020

From left, Amy Lynch, the winner of the Supermarket Sweep contest; Nichole Pichon, who ran the store collecting items for Lynch; and Dan Loughren, the manager of the Winn-Dixie where the special event took place. PAULETTE LEBLANC


What started as a fundraiser for the local Pine Island Kiwanis Club has become a big win for the community at large.

After islander Amy Lynch heard she’d won the grand prize of the Winn-Dixie Super Market Sweep 10 minute run, she immediately offered the groceries to the Beacon of Hope to help feed the community, but the story doesn’t end there.

Lynch, fearing she might not remember everything on their list, or be able to complete the list in the time allowed, decided to incorporate help from another source. Pine Island Leaders of Tomorrow (PILOT) mentor Nichole Pichon agreed to complete the run for Lynch and the Beacon of Hope.

Pichon went to the local Winn-Dixie beforehand to scout out the list given to her by the Beacon to make sure she could obtain everything on it in the time allowed.

“This was like a dream come true!” said Pichon. “It was like waking up on Christmas morning. I was so excited because my mom and I used to watch the Supermarket Sweep on TV all the time. It was just really fun. I’m glad the Beacon got as much as they did.”

Pichon racked up just about $1,000 in free groceries for the island organization, a total granted by local Winn-Dixie Store manager, Dan Loughren.

“We love to help and we’re glad we could pitch in” said Loughren, who was all too happy to allow both Pichon as well as the local firemen who came to support the event, to head back down the aisles and retrieve more groceries after the total came up shorter than the promised $1,000, although the run time had already expired.

“The Pine Island community is so special,” said Loughren. “The people on this island are so generous, it’s a pleasure to be a part of it. Anything we can do to help this community…we’re going to do.”

Lynch, who stood by to cheer for Pichon as she raced up and down the aisles. said she could not have been happier about the way the event turned out.

“She’s a great runner,” said Lynch of Pichon, “and the island is better for this. Thank you to this community, I love this community.”

According to Kiwanian Cindy Bickford, who presented the idea locally and helped organize the event, the funds raised from this will go toward the Kiwanis general operating funds.

“This will cover things like the pool parties, the Fall Festival, scholarships, Junior Olympics and anything we do for the children here on the island,” said Bickford, who credits a Kiwanis member from Iowa for the original idea of having a Supermarket Sweep fundraiser. “It was very well received. A lot of people stipulated on their tickets the organizations they would like to donate back to if they won, such as Bobby Holloway, Kiwanis or the Beacon, like Amy’s done, which is fantastic,” Bickford said.

Bickford also admitted she would like to see the event return in the spring and Loughren agreed he could see this becoming an annual event.