A shopping spree for COP

Published 6:48 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

Jeff Tatum had three minutes.

Three minutes to throw as many grocery items as he could in as many carts as he could fill.

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So he did. Tatum hurriedly tossed boxes of cereal, taco kits, salsa, soup, baked beans, dry pasta and more in his cart — all destined to line the shelves of Isle of Wight Christian Outreach. 

Tatum had won a shopping spree at Food Lion from the Virginia Lottery. He had purchased a Mega Millions ticket and also received a “second chance” ticket. He went online to register and ended up with the shopping spree. Tatum chose the Smithfield Food Lion as his store. 

He was only one of two in the state who won the shopping spree, said Lottery Sales Representative Brian Sowder. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

Tatum could choose anything but milk, eggs, bread, alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical items and gift cards. 

When he was finished, Tatum was given gift cards from the Virginia Lottery to pay for his stash. 

As he frantically shopped, Tatum’s wife, Kelli, and store employees followed his progress and cheered him on. 

Kelli had once volunteered at Christian Outreach and the couple thought that donating the food to the organization’s food bank was the way to go. 

“The need is huge. What better way to give back to the community,” said Kelli. 

Tatum said his strategy was simple — hit the nonperishable items aisle. 

Kelli joked that they were at the store every three to four days anyway, so they knew where everything was.

As he dashed for the checkout, Sowder said, “You got to the finish line with seconds to spare.”

With two carts overflowing with groceries, Tatum’s tally was $315.69. Out of the $750 in gift cards from the Lottery, he got to keep the balance. 

Food Lion Manager Tommy Nester said the store would match Tatum’s donation to Christian Outreach. 

Tatum was happy with the results of his shopping spree.

“They (Christian Outreach) can hand it out as needed,” he said.  {/mprestriction}