Home / She Shared / Press Trips / The Cookie Exchange that Changed My Life

The Cookie Exchange that Changed My Life

UPDATE: And the winner is … Karen said: I have a lot of Christmas memories involving Hershey Kisses but my fave is probably Reeses Peanut Butter cups cuz I am a pb freak. 🙂 I don’t think they make a product I do not like. As a kid I didnt like the’ Special Dark’ but now I finally do.

Congrats Karen, you have 48 hours to respond to the email that I just sent you!

About three weeks ago, I was invited to participate in an event in Hershey, PA. When I first got the invite, I thought that was an awfully far way to travel for chocolate. But then, about a second later, I came to my senses and realized that it was chocolate that we were talking about …and one should really never set limits or boundaries as to how far they will travel for something so wonderful. Anyway, I packed my bags and headed off to Hershey, PA … not really knowing what was in store for me. I attended this event with 11 other (awesome!) bloggers …. and the event centered around baking, and the highlight of the trip was to be a “Cookie Exchange” … which ended up being SO much more than that. Have you ever been to a Cookie Exchange that changed your life? I can officially say that I have!

From the time that I arrived … I noticed what a happy, friendly company Hershey is. It might be the chocolate … or it might just be the happiness that comes from working around the sweet stuff … but seriously… one of the happiest places on earth. We got to tour the Milton Hershey Museum (which is was so educational) and as the day unfolded, we were learning more and more about the story behind Hershey. And of course, along with the learning, came all kinds of chocolate fun: Chocolate creating, sampling, sampling, more sampling and then an entire five course lunch in which each course featured, you guessed it, some kind of chocolate. Really… I was in heaven.

This is me and Mindi (MomsNeedtoKnow) baking cookies for “The Cookie Exchange” …it was so much fun. The Hershey test kitchens are just like a regular kitchen, because that is how they want their recipes to be… recipes that any normal person could create. And I do have to say… we created some pretty fabulous cookies! Next step … we headed off “The Cookie Exchange” …

Before I tell you about that though, I need to back track a little (about 100 years) and tell you about Mr. Milton Hershey, the founder of Hershey. Besides his love for chocolate, he also had a very strong love of children and education … so back in 1909 he and his wife Kitty founded what was then a school for orphaned boys. It has now grown into The Milton Hershey School which houses over 1800 children, from grade school ages on up through high school. This school is completely funded by the Hershey company, no donations are accepted, at the request of Mr. Hershey. When he passed away at the age of 88, this school became the principal recipient of Hershey’s fortune … and continues to be so today.

And so, back to “The Cookie Exchange” part of my story. Off we went to exchange cookies with some of the children at the school, and I can honestly tell you that this was a top 10 life changing moment for me. Seeing these children, and knowing the opportunities that they are being given, thanks to the kindness of someone else… just melted my heart. Mr. Hershey believed that wealth should be used for the benefit of others and he backed that up with the community that he left behind.

I was working with a  little 6 year old girl  as we created our “cookie tins” for  our loved ones. I was making one to bring home to my kids, and she was making one for her mother. She grabbed my hand and asked me, with all seriousness,  “do you love your daughter?” and I said “Yes, I do, very much” and she said to me … (sob!) “She is a very lucky daughter then.” And back to work we went. But I still get a lump in my throat when I think of her words.

One is only happy in proportion as he makes others feel happy,” Milton Hershey wrote once … and nothing could be truer of the legacy that he left behind. And …as a kicker to my amazing Hershey experience, I was moved once again as I was being driven to the airport by an older gentleman who asked me about my Hershey experience. I struggled through the lump in my throat to tell him how deeply moved I was by the Hershey story … and he then tells me (sob, again!) that he himself was a graduate of The Milton Hershey Orphanage many years ago, and was so grateful for the opportunities that this had given him in his life. . . and some 60+ years later… he was back working for the company.

So now when you eat Hershey’s chocolate you can justify those yummy extra calories by knowing that you are supporting a wonderful company that does amazing things 🙂  Thank you to my friends at Hershey for this awesome experience!!

Ok… now that I have gotten all mushy on you … of course I have a giveaway to share!! One lucky SheSaved winner with receive this AWESOME Hershey’s Baking Package and Canister set (Inludes: Branded Hershey’s Canister Set, Hershey’s Cookies apron, Branded Hershey’s Timer, Recipe Card Set, 1 Canister of Hershey’s Cocoa, 3 Bags of Assorted Baking Chips, 2 Bags of Hershey’s Kisses)

Just leave a comment on this post … what is your favorite Hershey treat? (feel free to share any other thoughts about Hershey that you have as well!) I will leave this giveaway open until 10pm (mnt time) on Sunday night, Dec. 19th. The winner will have 48 hours to respond!

Oh! …I almost forgot! If you want some killer cookie recipes…check out the Hershey’s Kitchens website here. And if you want the best-ever-oh-my-goodness-so unbelievably-amazing-that-I-have-stuffed-myself-silly-on-them-cookies-in-the-world recipe, then you will want to check out these Hershey’s Peppermint Pattie cookies. Such serious yum.

Meet the author – Keri Lyn

The creative and frugal mind behind She Saved for over 12 years now, Keri Lyn shares her adventures in parenting along with her love for family travel, country living and brand marketing. A self-proclaimed “brand loyalist”, Keri Lyn is known for her strong and enthusiastic voice when it comes to the products and brands that she loves. She Saved has become a community for like-minded consumers who appreciate saving money, time and sanity by getting the best deals on quality products and experiences.

Find Out More About Me

Similar Posts


  1. Oh I love chocolate. My all time favorite candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They are a piece of heaven in your mouth 🙂

  2. I will never eat another Hershey chocolate again without thinking of this wonderful experience and story that you shared. Thank you. I love Kisses with Cherry Cordial.

  3. I love everything Hershey! My two faves are the Hershey bar with almonds and Reese’s cups. Yum! And I’ll purchase them even more frequently now that I know just how fabulous the company really is…it’s a shame there aren’t more people in this world like Milton Hershey.

  4. I love Reese cups! I love the peanut butter cookies with the Reese cup pressed down in the middle! Mmmm! So good!

  5. Omg what an awesome story and a great trip!! I lovvveeee hersheys cookies and cream— yummmm! I wish I had some

  6. hersheys with almonds or heath but i’d trade either for some good smores with a regular hersheys bar! There’s no substitute!

  7. My favorite Hershey’s treat is the original plain Hershey’s chocolate bar. : )
    that story was amazing. I live in NJ and have been to hershey park but never have i heard that! Definitely inspires me to buy more hershey’s chocolate!

  8. I’m a Peanut Butter Cup addict. Great post, by the way. Thanks for sharing your experience. We live in central PA and visit Hershey’s often. We love it there!!

  9. One of our most favorite vacations was our trip to Hershey (before we had kids). We didn’t even do the amusement park. We toured the factory and sampled a lot of the goodies!

    My favorite is special dark, but we have a cute pic from our trip of my hubby with Mr. Goodbar 🙂

  10. Hershey bar with almonds- my grand father bought one and shared it with me every payday. Whenever I eat one, I am back in his lap again.

  11. I love Hershey’s Kisses.. And your story is amazing and inspirational. I grew up in PA and was a huge fan of going to Hershey with my family — I swear, the whole town smells like chocolate. I also love how the street lamps look like Hershey’s Kisses.

  12. Hershey is the best chocolate. I just bought the kisses with cherry cordial and they are great. I don’t know if they are my new favorite or it is still kisses with caramel!

  13. Love it all..especially the Reese’s Pieces and peanut butter cups! Loved the inside out P.B. cups when they were available! Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience with us!

  14. Well I love any kind of chocolate but I’d have to say my favorite is Reese’s peanut butter cups. Yummy! 🙂

  15. NOTHING beats Hershey’s chocolate!! All those fancy gourmet chocolates—YUCK!! Give me a bag of Kisses or some Reeses Cups any day!

  16. What a great experience!! That is so cool!! 🙂 So happy you got to do that. I love Hershey Kisses…they are the best!! And thanks for educating me on ALL that Hershey does!!

  17. My favorite Hershey’s treat have always been Kisses for as long as I can remember. My Grandfather used to keep a canister full of them and would always give us one (or three) when we came to visit him. And the Peanut Butter Blossom recipe with Hershey Kisses is one of my favorite holiday treats to make – we made some just last week 🙂

  18. I love Reese’s in any shape or form, Reese’s allwase puts a smile on my face not mater how i feel. Also like backing with the chocolate chips .

  19. I have a lot of Christmas memories involving Hershey Kisses but my fave is probably Reeses Peanut Butter cups cuz I am a pb freak. 🙂 I don’t think they make a product I do not like. As a kid I didnt like the’ Special Dark’ but now I finally do.

  20. I love the Hershey’s cookies and creme candy bar. White chocolate and cookies…..yum!!!!!

  21. awwww. thank you for sharing your trip with us. It warms my heart to hear. I love know there is good out there!
    I made snowman soup for gifts this year using the hershey kisses!! My kids love it!

  22. I love a plain old Hershey bar…because they make my kids faces light up! We love to use them to make s’mores when we are camping and they love them so much that sometimes we make them in the microwave on a cold winter day!

  23. Hello I was really touched by your story with the little girl, sometimes we truly forget just how blessed we are to know and feel we are loved. Now to answer the question my favorite treat is the chocolate thumbprints made with the milk choclate hershey’s candy. Yumo!!!

  24. I am a fan of the plan Hershey’s candy bar – my daughter loves her “favorite chocolate” which is the peanut butter cup to her!

  25. I grew up near Hershey and we would go on class field trips all the time. The town really smells like chocolate!

  26. i have always loved Hershey Kisses–they are like little pieces of heaven in each bite!! 🙂 YUM!!!!

  27. Thanks for sharing that story. I love Hershey’s chocolate, but now love them even more, knowing that they benefit such a wonderful school!
    Hershey bar with almonds is my favorite.

  28. I love Hershey’s Kisses Filled With Caramel!!!! It’s my newest addiction! My husband loves them too!

  29. Right now I’m lving the candy cane Hershey kisses! They are so yummy and are delicious when I plop them onto freshly baked chocolate chip cookies!

  30. My favorite Hershey treat is mint chocolate cookies with mint hershey’s kisses gracing the center… delish!

  31. My grandmother lived in Pennsylvania and I could smell the chocolate from her backyard! It was amazing!!!
    Love Hershey Kisses with Caramel filling!

  32. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your story!! And Mr. Hershey’s too! I will think of it (and the lump in my throat too) every time my sweet tooth hits!! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  33. You really had to think twice about going to Hershey??? Girlfriend!! I went there years ago and it is such an amazing story, Mr. Hershey was an amazing man and all the lives that he has touched!
    Hersheys is my first pick candy bar, its so satisfying.
    As for a cookie, I like to make the peanut butter cookies and put a hershey kiss in the middle of them. Nothing satisfies me next to chocolate then chocolate with peanut butter!!

  34. I love Hershey’s Kisses. I’ve been buying them for years. I always have a bowl filled with them in the red, green & silver foil for my family & guests (and me too) at Christmas. One time one of my brothers was ill and I wrapped several bags of Kisses up and wrote what looked like a doctor’s prescription on the gift card: Take 2 as needed for pain, nausea, dizzyness, or for general grumpiness until flu is gone. He loved his surprise. 🙂

  35. That is a prize I wouldn’t share!!!
    Mr. Hershey’s story is amazing, I had the opportunity to take a little weekend trip to Hershey years ago and it was just fascinating. I think your trip sounds like it was a life long experience that you will share with your kids for many years to come.
    There is a HUGE plus to eating Hershey’s chocolate, not just the weight gain but the personal gain of knowing you are helping others.

  36. what a wonderful experience! Children really have a way with words. Would love to win and give to a friend going through a hard time!

  37. I don’t think you can beat a hersheys with almonds, although I have to say the chocolate milkshake at the factory tour rocks!

  38. My favorite is the special dark which for some reason I only seem to buy at Christmas time in the assorted packages. Any thing Hershey’s is ok in my book though. I never pass up their chocolate. My husband calls me a chocolate snob because the only kind of chips I by are Hershey’s. There is no comparison in my opinion. Nothing beats warm chocolate chip cookies where the choc chips are melted and are sooo chocolatey. Or homemade choc chip pancakes, or choc chip muffins, or brownies with choc chips, I seriously could just go on & on!!!!!

  39. Wow, what a moving story and experience you had! So glad you shared it, as I had no idea about the Hershey school. Thanks for opening my eyes about this company. I would have to say my favorite Hershey product is the Hershey bar with almonds.

  40. I love melting hershey bars and dipping strawberries in it.. yum
    chantal cooper
    chantalgiardina (at) yahoo (dot) com

  41. Hi Keri! I loved hearing the story after running into you in the airport. You were glowing, and now I see why!

  42. My favorite hershey chocolate are reeses pieces. Small enough to eat a lot without really thinking that you’re eating a lot.

  43. My favorite Hershey product is the York Peppermint Patties! I love, love, love them! I am defiantly going to make the cookies you have pictured.

  44. What an amazing story you told about Hershey! Thanks for sharing. I LOVE Reeses cups! It’s what I swipe from my kids Halloween bags. 🙂

  45. Thank you for the great story it brought tears to my eyes! I live in PA and have visited Hershey myself but didn’t know that much about it! I love ALL of Hershey’s products but Reeses’ are closer to the top of that list 🙂

  46. I really enjoy eating reese’s pieces. I could pop those in my mouth all day long!

  47. The Reeses peanut butter cups are my fave. Especially fresh out of the fridge. In HS My best friend and I would always “Split a Reeses.” I can’t wait to try those peppermint patty cookies, btw, thanks!

  48. I LOVE Hershey’s products! My favorite is the Hershey’s Kisses with Almonds….so addicting! Yum 🙂

  49. You are making me drool. I love anything with chocolate. Plain old Hershey’s bar is the best. Thanks for the giveaway.

  50. M&Ms stole my heart as a child. I still remember the time my dad rented an old reel projector and some 8 mm films to watch. I will never forget one film was a tour of the famous Hershey Chocolate Factory in Hershey, PA, and especially loved watching them make M&Ms. I dreamed of someday going there, and still hope to make it!!

  51. Than you for sharing your heart touching story with us made me cry also, I love the Hershey’s Kisses makes me love them even more now that I know more about the company,( wonder if he named them kisses since he loved children so much so everytime he gave them to a child that wasn’t a part of a loving family it would allow them to know just how much he really cared….)

  52. I LOVE Chocolate and have to say my favorite is chocolate covered almonds. I had the pleasure to visit Hershey years ago and loved it. Just the smell of chocolate in the air made it my little place of heaven. Thanks for the lovely story and hopefully more people will think about visiting the parks and factories.

  53. I LOVE the Hershey’s Special Dark baking cocoa. And then I found a recipe for these deadly super fudgy brownies on their website – to die for!

  54. I love peanut butter kisses cookies that are made with Hershey’s kisses. My favorite Christmas cookie!

  55. My favorite Hersey treat is to top chocolate chip cookie dough with a miniature Reese’s PB cup right out of the oven – cool and watch them disappear!!!

  56. Oh I love anything by Hershey, we use a bottle a week of the syrup for chocolate milk!!! My favorite would have to be the cherry cordial kisses!!!

Comments are closed.