Stories from the Frontline: Local Family-Owned Grocery Chain Feeds Frontline Heroes
When Ali Sumas Good ’95, Oak Knoll’s varsity field hockey coach, and her family heard rumblings about a widespread virus beginning to wreak havoc in New Jersey, they immediately sprang into action.
“We tried to be as prepared as possible,” said Good. “So, our family quickly mobilized knowing that our grocery stores would be a major resource for the community.”
Good’s family owns and operates 30 Village ShopRite Supermarkets across four states as well as Gourmet Garage in New York City. Her family has owned the stores for three generations and Good, together with her sister Laura Sumas-Barry ’03 and her cousins, continues to uphold the company’s mission to help their local families live better.
The Sumas family first organized a massive effort to keep their employees in all their stores safe. They installed plexiglass barriers at each register, implemented full scale, deep cleanings of their stores multiple times throughout the day and announced special shopping hours for seniors and the immunocompromised.
At the same time, they began providing meals for their own employees — roughly 6,000 workers — in the stores two times a day.
“We are in the stores every day and see firsthand what our associates are doing for us and our communities,” said Good. “They have been tirelessly working on the front line of our supermarkets and we wanted to appreciate them.”
To date, the Sumas family has provided approximately 60,000 meals to their Village ShopRite Supermarket employees.
Yearning to help serve their communities even more, in a way that went beyond the point of sale, the Sumas family founded Heroes Feeding Heroes, a widespread Village ShopRite Supermarket fundraising effort to feed local health care workers on the frontlines.
“We knew we could use our ability to reach thousands of customers so we started to collect money at our registers and also set up a Go Fund Me page,” said Good. “Using these donations, we have provided 9,000 meals from local businesses to eight area hospitals within the communities that our grocery stores serve.”
Still, they wanted to impact even more people in need so Good reconnected with her Oak Knoll classmate, Katie Curran Darcy ’92, about her FLAG of Summit organization.
Together, the two quickly divided and conquered to maximize fundraising efforts. Currently, FLAG of Summit supports Summit-area restaurants by purchasing meals from them and then delivering those hot meals to Overlook Medical Center. Heroes Feeding Heroes now provides anything else that the hospitals in their 30 communities need, including fresh fruit snacks, granola bars, water, gum, mints and even personal protection gear as their warehouses receive it.
One of the hospitals was looking to boost morale recently and asked Good if the stores would supply goods for an ice cream party for the health care workers.
“We were more than happy to serve them,” said Good. “It’s such a serious state in our hospitals, that if we can bring just a little bit of joy to them, we’re going to continue helping however long we need.”
Stories from the Frontline is a signature Oak Knoll editorial feature that aims to highlight all of the hardworking alumnae/i of Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child who are out on the frontlines of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. These alumnae/i may be in the medical, law enforcement, and other emergency service fields. Do you know someone we should talk to? Email email@example.com.