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.