Grocery cart race benefits food shelf

With help from Farm Bureau, Bender's Foods, and teams from Clayton Ridge High School and Clayton County 4-H, the county food shelf received over $300 in donated food. Front from left are Farm Bureau representative Jesse Westhoff and Bender's manager Karl Behning; second row, Farm Bureau rep Nick Westhoff, contestants Abby Von Handorf, Hannah Andregg, Andrew Burgin, Jacob Kahle, and Farm Bureau rep Erik Oberbroeckling; back row, competitors Joe Kann, Colten Rastetter, and Sharon Keehner. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

At the call of “Ready, set, go!” two teams rushed their shopping carts forward and began a race to feed the hungry. Hannah Andregg, Abby Von Handorf, Colten Rastetter, and Joe Kann, of the Clayton County 4-H Youth Council, competed against Clayton Ridge High School faculty and students Sharon Keehner, Andrew Burgin, and Jacob Kahle in the Clayton County Farm Bureau’s Grocery Cart Race at Bender’s Foods in Guttenberg on Friday.

The annual event is part of Farm Bureau’s Our Food Link program, a new year-round pro-ject to reach consumers of all ages and backgrounds with information about today’s agriculture. “We’re here to promote the fact that by the third or fourth week in February, the average family of four in America has earned enough income to buy their food for the rest of the year,” said Farm Bureau representative Erik Oberbroeckling. Samantha Erhardt, regional manager at Farm Bureau, detailed another focus of the event – farm to fork. “By sponsoring this grocery cart race, we hope to help consumers understand where their food comes from,” said Erhardt.

Oberbroeckling, Erhardt, and Jessie and Nick Westhoff supervised the race while Karl Behning, Bender’s manager, and Utoni Ruff, Clayton County Food Shelf supervisor, waited to tally the results.

Each team was given a different list of 57 grocery items requested by the Food Shelf. Competitors split up to find Tuna Helper, canned goods, peanut butter, flour, powdered milk, and other brand-specific foods on Bender’s shelves. 

Questions rang out from between the aisles. “Is tomato juice the same thing as stewed tomatoes?” “Did you get the chicken noodle soup?”

Kahle, a member of the Clayton Ridge team, is a Bender’s employee well-versed in organizing the store's shelves. His team finished collecting the items on their list in less than ten minutes – with 100% accuracy. Following the team’s win, business and technology instructor Sharon Keehner admitted to playing dirty – with full endorsement from Farm Bureau rep Oberbroeckling. “Stealing from each other’s carts is encouraged,” he told competitors prior to the race. “The goal is to have fun!” 

“I stole from the 4-H cart, and then I ran,” Keehner laughed. “I hid the food in an aisle so they wouldn’t know what I took. It was fun.”

The real winner of the day was the Clayton County Food Shelf, the recipient of roughly $300 in groceries collected during the race courtesy of Farm Bureau. Bender’s chipped in another $25. “I wanted to do something to help out, and I appreciate the business,” said Behning to Farm Bureau representatives. “I thank you for that.”

Farm Bureau also donated $25 to the 4-H county council and $25 to Dollars for Scholars to thank each team for participating. Clayton County Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization committed to serving Clayton County residents and the farmers who feed them, actively supporting of education, health care programs, rural business initiatives. To learn more, visit

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