WILKES-BARRE TWP. — Gary Marcin was out of breath after he raced through Wegmans Monday, but his hustle paid off: He set the United Way of Wyoming Valley record for piling food into shopping carts in the 12th annual shopping spree.
Marcin, who turns 40 today, filled four shopping carts with meat, paper products and various other items totaling $785.13.
“I just got whatever my family wanted and needs,” Marcin said. “My dad wants bacon. This was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be.”
Wegmans typically caps the annual shopping spree at $500, but store Manager Dave Grossi said the Wilkes-Barre Township grocery store would cover Marcin’s final tab.
Each year, Wegmans donates the shopping spree to one United Way raffle winner. The raffle is part of United Way of Wyoming Valley’s annual fund drive campaign.
As a donor to United Way 2013-14 Community Campaign, Marcin’s name was entered into a raffle to win one of seven campaign incentive prizes. In mid-December, Marcin’s name was pulled as the winner of a 3-minute Wegmans shopping spree.
Marcin is a history teacher in the Wyoming Valley West School District. Staff and retirees at the school district combined to raise nearly $25,000 for the United Way campaign this year.
“My WVW union brothers and sisters who donate each year to the United Way are to be credited for this,” Marcin said.
Wegmans Manager Dave Grossi said United Way is important because of its community outreach.
“United Way is important to me, our stores, our community,” Grossi said. “We are proud to support such a vital community agency.”
Bill Jones, United Way president/CEO, thanked Wegmans for its involvement in the campaign.
“We are grateful to all of our donors,” Jones said. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to provide the community support that we do.”
Marcin and his wife, Kelly, and daughter, Addison, 7, are from Swoyersville.
“I told him to grab some tiramisu,” Kelly said. “That’s my favorite.”
Addison was hoping for at least one shopping cart full of candy.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” Marcin said. “Pork shoulders, that’s what we like.”
Jones said the shopping spree is held at the end of the annual campaign, but this year it had to be delayed until Marcin was done with school and a family vacation.