CHATEAUGAY — A Malone couple took part in a “grocery stampede,” piling nearly $400 worth of groceries into their shopping cart, Saturday morning, at LaVigne’s IGA on Route 11.

Harold Mallette turned a $20 raffle ticket into $397.18 worth of groceries, after his ticket was picked at Friday’s drawing for the contest.

Harold Mallette said he has never won anything like this before.

“I’ll tell you one thing, if they ever have another raffle here, I’ll buy another ticket,” Harold Mallette said, “I was surprised I even won, I never win anything.”

According to Kathy Mallette, she was very grateful to take part in the event, initially thinking the raffle ticket was for a four-wheeler instead of a shopping spree.

“I thought he had bought a ticket on a four-wheeler or something,” Kathy Mallette said, “This is very emotional because we have never won anything before and it’s a great cause, veterans are in my heart.”

During the “stampede,” Harold Mallette, pushed the cart, while Kathy Mallette, picked out the items.

“I’m usually the shopper, and I have been in this store before but I kind of knew from Yando’s in Malone, it is the same layout, just flipped,” Kathy Mallette said, “We had a bit of a game plan and we did OK.”

The $400 shopping spree is part of a fundraiser for Homeward Bound Adirondacks, according to Frank Dorchak, the organization’s fundraising chairman, who said their fundraising efforts grossed over $10,000.

“I think we did pretty well, we cleared over $10,000,” Dorchak said, “It was real good, I am happy with how it turned out.”

Homeward Bound Adirondacks is a volunteer organization in Saranac Lake, a private non-for-profit veteran’s support agency.

The “grocery stampede,” in Chateaugay was one of three organized by Homeward Bound Adirondacks, with another stampede taking place at Tupper Lake’s Shaheen’s IGA, and one at Plattsburgh’s Yando’s BIG-M.

Dorchak said the winner who comes the closest to $400 in groceries within the 20-minute time frame, will receive a special prize, a $100 gift card to Runnings.

With 20 minutes to fill their grocery cart with as many groceries as possible, the Mallettes received five minutes prior to the start of the stampede to plan their route.

After the “grocery stampede,” as the couple was packing up their car with their grocery haul, Kathy Mallette said one item she wanted to make sure they left the store with was some London broil.

According to Harold Mallette, the first meal the couple cooks up with the grocers is going to be a steak dinner.

Also on hand for the event were Kirk LaVigne, owner of the grocery store, and Patrick Bobbie, the store’s manager.

According to Andrea Stewart, Malone’s Town Supervisor, and a member of Homeward Bound Adirondacks’ board of directors, the store’s help with the fundraiser epitomizes the community spirit of a local business.

“It is the epitome of what a hometown store is about, where everyone does there part to contribute, we are all in this together,” Stewart said.

Dorchak said he appreciated the store hosting the event and thanked Stewart for her work selling raffle tickets in May.

“Once you get going and you realize it isn’t about you, it is about the cause, then the shyness goes away, and this type of thing sells itself,” Stewart said, “It has been great.”

Dorchak said he had fun selling raffle tickets.

“I love it, you meet people, and make some friends,” Dorchak said.

According to Dorchak, this is the first time the grocery stampede has been held, with the proceeds of raffle ticket sales going towards the mortgage payments for the property, where the group’s new retreat center will be located.

The new center will support veterans who are suffering from PTSD, and will be located in the Lake Titus area, according to Dorchak, adding weekend retreats are currently held in Onchiota.

Dorchak said a groundbreaking ceremony is planned at the new property in July, and a capital campaign will be launched to help fund the construction of a veterans center at the new location.

According to Dorchak, the sale of the property to Homeward Bound Adirondacks was finalized this week.

Stewart said the property in the Lake Titus area is over 100 acres.

“It has several ponds and several miles of roadways,” Stewart said.

Stewart said Harold Mallette is a retired member of the town of Malone’s highway department, working there for over 30 years.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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