For three years in a row, Peter Forcinito III, of Vineland, has been on the back of the Cheerios box. The opportunity is made available by his employer, ShopRite of Somers Point, while the honor is earned.

For those three years, Forcinito, an assistant manager at ShopRite, has captained the Somers Point Partners in Caring Team. Partners in Caring is a Shoprite initiative that attempts to raise awareness about hunger in local communities.

In September, 250 ShopRites across six states participated in the ShopRite Partners in Caring Annual Cheerios Contest, with two associates from the top 41 highest fundraising stores earning a spot on the box.

With a total of $14,014 raised, Forcinito and his coworker, assistant manager George Fabrizio, of Galloway Township, cinched their spot on the back of the box.

"It is an honor and a privilege," Fabrizio said. "The credit goes to the community."

The funds will benefit the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, while $500 was donated to Grace Lutheran Church, in Somers Point, which has a food pantry.

"We raffled ShopRite gift cards, sold hot dogs and took donations," Forcinito said, explaining how the funds were raised.

Fundraising took place over a five-week period beginning the last week of August. On Sept. 18, the ShopRite hosted a "Help Bag Hunger" event, in which Somers Point officials helped customers bag their items at the checkout lines of stores, in order to raise local awareness about community hunger. September was Hunger Action Month.

The associate-adorned boxes number 125,000 and are sold exclusively at winning stores, ShopRite spokeswoman Orien Reid said.

Forcinito and Fabrizio both received Plexiglas-encased and -engraved Cheerios boxes, which bore their photos. This is Forcinito's third memento.

In all, the participating stores raised $1.24 million for their local food banks.

"It takes a village," said Collette Kraus of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

Contact Devin Loring:

609-463-6713