Our UFCW Local 152 members come from many unique and diverse backgrounds and perform great deeds outside of work. Some members choose to go above and beyond their daily activities and make a difference in their communities, like our Local 152 Leader for this month: Debi Lee Jackson, who works in the front end as a bookrunner at Perlmart ShopRite in Manahawkin, New Jersey.
Outside of her work at ShopRite, Debi takes it upon herself to plan all kinds of fundraisers for multiple charity organizations, most notably the Polar Bear Plunge for the Special Olympics and Children’s Organ Transplant Association. As we interviewed Debi for the first time, we met someone who was very fun, bubbly, and personable; it’s easy to see why she would be good at arranging events and form teams for various charity events. She has the personality of a someone who thrives in event planning.
Her pride is the Polar Bear Plunge group event, which started out as something like a bucket list item for her and her husband, Andy, in 2002. This past year, their group “Team Tequila” included nearly fifty people jumping into the freezing water in Seaside Heights, NJ’s event. While the Polar Bear Plunge is certainly a party (their group wears sombreros), the most fun is seeing how much money they can raise in the weeks leading up to the big plunge. As their group has continued to grow over the years, Debi estimates her team has raised at least a whopping $100,000 total for the Special Olympics, mostly by being vocal with friends and family and sending letters for donations.
Because her husband Andy is the Commander at American Legion Post 493, she does a lot of volunteer work with the legion and the Ladies Auxiliary. With the help of her niece and other volunteers, she has arranged or helped arrange events for numerous charities, including: a Puppy Kissing Booth and a raffle of lottery tickets for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association; “adopting” a Hurricane Harvey family (who was originally from Manahawkin, NJ) and raising over $2,400 for them; caroling at Seacrest Village, a retirement home; ran and hiked miles for Run For The Fallen; various themed parties such as a vampire-themed event for Wounded Warrior Project, a pirate-themed party for Blue Star Mothers, among others. She even helped to put together a Ladies Auxiliary Cookbook, with proceeds going to a member who needed a kidney transplant.
Today, Debi continues to selflessly give up her time for these organizations. We asked Debi what pushes her to continue to arrange all of these events.
“There’s always someone worse off than you,” she said. “It’s important to remember we are all connected.”
We are honored to have such a generous member like Debi featured as a Local 152 Leader. The staff at UFCW Local 152 would like to praise her on behalf of the money she has raised for various charities, and the lives she’s touched for personally overseeing these events. Great job, Debi!