Walk a Mile in Their Sneakers

Open Pantry sponsors MS Walk, in-store program

Published in CSP Daily News

RACINE, Wis. --On April 17, 2005, Open Pantry Food Marts of Wisconsin Inc. again sponsored the Christopher & Banks Multiple Sclerosis Walk, a division of the National MS Society.

The Wisconsin Chapter of the National MS Society has been hosting the Racine MS Walk since 1999, and in that time, the Racine Walk has raised more than $350,000 to help benefit the National MS Society.

Open Pantry partners with the Multiple Sclerosis Society each year in memory of Eunice Jean Buhler, mother of owner and president, Robert A. Buhler. [image-nocss] This year was especially wonderful since we had State Representative John Layman and Senator Cathy Stepp cutting the starting line ribbon, said Buhler. Senator Stepp has introduced a bill to allow Wisconsin tax payers to check a box on their tax returns and make a donation to help Multiple Sclerosis.

More than 30 Open Pantry team members, family and friends attended the Racine MS Walk this year, wearing Open Pantry's own team t-shirts for the Eunice Jean Buhler Open Pantry team. While some employees choose to walk, others donated their time to serving breakfast and lunch to walkers completing the 3.4- or 7.1-mile MS Walk.

Through Open Pantry's coordination, MS Walk attendees enjoyed a generous offering of food donated by Pepsi Cola, Neptune Sandwiches, Lipari Foods, Hometown Inc., Frito Lay and Krispy Kreme. For the young MS Supporters, Open Pantry donated entertainment for children, providing Cuddles and Big Boy, a local clown and face painting duo.

Open Pantry also participates in the MS Sneaker Program, through which customers are offered the chance to purchase a paper sneaker for $1 each. The sneakers are then displayed in the stores with customers' names on them. This year, Open Pantry sold more than $5,000 sneakers.

The National MS Society is the main charity that Open Pantry supports and will continue to support until the cause, effects and cure are found. MS is an unpredictable neurological disease that affects an estimated 400,000 people in the United States. It can cause blurred vision, loss of balance, poor coordination, slurred speech, tremors, numbness, extreme fatigue and even paralysis and blindness. More than 10,000 people have MS in Wisconsin.

Pleasant Prairie, Wis.-based Open Pantry owns nearly 30 gasoline convenience stores in southeastern Wisconsin (one in northeastern Illinois). It also has several franchise and dealer locations.