Auburn and Kent officials battle for groceries

Police, firefighters and mayors race to see who could grab the most food to donate.

Over $2,000 worth of food was donated to food banks in Auburn and Kent after Grocery Outlet hosted its first ever “Battle of the Badges” competition on Oct. 5.

Police and firefighters from Kent and Auburn and their respective mayors raced to see who could grab the most groceries in one minute.

“It’s like ‘Supermarket Sweep,’ the TV show. Basically all the food that’s collected today is going to be donated to food banks both in Auburn and Kent,” said Kolby Crossley, Auburn police’s public information officer.

Representatives of each city racked up more than $1,000 in groceries, but Grocery Outlet will foot the bill.

The contest consisted of three rounds: one for police, firefighters and mayors. The contestants lined up next to each other at the front of the store with their carts ready to go. Grocery Outlet owners counted down from three — and it was off to the races.

The contestants raced down the aisles and grabbed as much food off the shelves as they could before returning to the front of the store. Police and firefighters took the “battle” part seriously, grabbing armfuls of food and dumping it into their carts in hopes of beating their opponents.

In contrast, Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus and Kent Mayor Dana Ralph took a more cooperative approach and worked together to fill up their carts.

After the three rounds, Grocery Outlet workers scanned the groceries from all the carts to see who won. Kent came out on top with a total value of $1,287 worth of groceries compared to Auburn’s $1,202.

Kent’s win is likely due to their experience. In previous years, Kent police and firefighters competed against each other at the Grocery Outlet in Kent. This is the first time the two cities competed.

Officials from Kent and Auburn agreed the real winner is the food banks that are struggling to get enough food during the pandemic.

“We need food all the time. Anything you can buy at the grocery store. So it’s important to us,” said Debbie Christian of the Auburn Food Bank. “We’ve been down on food drives right now. We think it’ll pick up over the holidays, but this is going to give us a good shot in the arm.”

To learn more about the Auburn Food Bank and how to donate food, visit

Firefighters pile food into their cart at Grocery Outlet in Auburn.

Firefighters pile food into their cart at Grocery Outlet in Auburn.