Unemployed Mother of 5 Wins Half A Million Bucks in Grocery Contest


Melissa Edwards-Munoz could not believe her ears. She thought this had to be a prank phone call.

The 38-year-old mother of five got a phone call from complete strangers who informed her that she’d won $500,000 in an online grocery store contest, beating 48 million other entries. This news couldn’t have come at a better time – just five weeks ago, Edwards-Munoz was laid off from her job at a stainless steel company.

Edwards-Munoz was speechless for several moments. Fumbling for words, she finally spoke. Edwards-Munoz recalled:

“‘Is this for real?’ is what was really going through my head. Then I jokingly said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ I don’t win anything.” [source]

Still in disbelief, she went online and tried to verify the phone number. When she went to the grocery store, all of her doubts were erased. Joined by her family, the grocery store Albertsons presented Edwards-Munoz with an oversized check for the full amount of half a million dollars. A stream of confetti and balloons even showered the family, celebrating their prize.

As the family smiled on, dozens of Albertsons employees and customers cheered for them. Customer Andrea Pate, shopping with her two daughters, saw the festivities and said:

“I should have played. But good things happen to good people … good for her.” [source]

Edwards-Munoz had entered the store’s national Monopoly contest in May. For the contest, customers receive a marker that goes on a tri-fold paper game board provided by the store. For two months, customers collect the markers and try to get specific combinations that are rewarded with prizes. Prizes ranged from grocery gift card, an iPad Air to a $25,000 backyard makeover.

Being that Edwards-Muniz had five children between 13 and 20 years old, she frequented Albertsons often and it wasn’t long before she’d collected several stickers. She and her family began placing the markers on their Monopoly game board, hoping to win. She said:

“We were just saying what we could do with the prizes, it was just a fun family moment – dreaming.” [source]

The grocery store’s grand prize was $1 million, but there was no winner. Organizers then decided to give customers another chance to win. Lilia Rodriguez, spokeswoman for Albertsons, said:

“We had thousands of people winning prizes but we didn’t have a big winner yet.” [source]

When the grocery store discovered that someone from Southern California was selected, they were thrilled.

Edwards-Munoz decided that the family’s first plan is to speak with an accountant to discuss what they want to do with the money before spending any. Edwards-Munoz’ husband, Chris, said:

“It didn’t really set in until today. I don’t even know if it has. It’s fortunate enough in that it will help the kids. But we have to strategize.” [source]

So far, the family plans to put some of the money toward college tuition for their children. They are also interested in buying the house they are currently renting. Edwards-Munoz said:

“For me, just the fact that all the kids have an opportunity to go to college, or more so than they would (have). It’s all really an exciting thing to happen, all the possibilities.” [source]